MC

Mississippi College

Pearl High Teacher Academy Visits MC School of Education

February 15, 2013

A new group of Pearl High students making plans to become teachers in a few years gained some fresh insights during their visit Thursday to the Mississippi College School of Education.

But the ten students with the Pearl Teacher Academy also made a sharp impression on MC professors like Cindy Melton.

“It was really neat to see the students so excited about education,” says Melton, who chairs MC’s Teacher Education Department. “This is definitely very encouraging. This is a great future investment.”

The Pearl students didn’t just sit in class as Melton lectured to her class of Mississippi College undergraduates about teaching people with sensory impairments, and touching on diversity issues. The visitors asked questions and spoke with MC educators after the mid-February class in Lowrey Hall.

“This was a great opportunity for students to sit in an education classroom and observe,” says Pearl High Teacher Academy leader Sheri Carter. The Clinton campus is familiar turf for Carter, who received her master’s degree in education at Mississippi College. Most students in the group that got started in August 2012 are strongly weighing plans to become teachers – from elementary school through high school.

Teacher Academy programs in the Magnolia State date back to 2008, and receive the backing of the Mississippi Department of Education. Today, about 35 high schools operate teacher academies that invest resources and time to heighten interest levels and classrooms skills for prospective educators.

Melton says this was the first such visit at the MC School of Education from a teacher academy. But other organizations, including math clubs at Jackson high schools, have made similar trips to the School of Education. Students from Hinds Community College and Holmes Community College, among others, routinely make the journey to the School of Education.

This was the third time that Pearl Teacher Academy students have visited college campuses in 2012-2013. A few months ago, the group traveled to Hattiesburg to meet with School of Education leaders at William Carey University and the University of Southern Mississippi. The students also observe classes being taught in various schools in the Pearl district.

The Pearl High Academy trip to the Clinton campus on Valentine’s Day “was a great opportunity and I’m really excited about becoming an MC student,” says Pearl High sophomore Hannah Kanengiser, 15. The Pearl Pirates swimmer and lifeguard hopes to study psychology at Mississippi College’s School of Education and become a counselor. “Everyone really liked it.”

The Teacher Academy “is a good program. It encourages high schoolers to excel as they move towards their careers,” Kanengiser said.

After the morning class, the students from neighboring Rankin County toured Mississippi College’s new science building, stopped at the bookstore, grabbed lunch at the cafeteria, and checked out the A.E. Wood Coliseum. The Pearl students also met with an admissions recruiter and shot loads of pictures during their five-hour stay on the Clinton campus.

With Mississippi continuing to experience a shortage of teachers in math, the sciences, foreign languages and other fields in the Delta and other regions, Melton says it’s a positive sign to see young Mississippians interested in the profession. “They asked very insightful questions,” she said. “This gives them a leg up.”