Mississippi College Announces New Program for K-12 Teachers
Mississippi College is launching a new program to help K-12 teachers master virtual classrooms and online instruction. Applications are now open for the Online Instruction and Design Program, with classes beginning in June.
“It’s our mission not only to prepare our current undergraduate students to become teachers, but also to continue to equip teachers after they’ve moved into the classroom,” said Dr. Cindy Melton, dean of the MC School of Education.
The Online Instruction and Design Program is a four-class, virtual program that will help K-12 teachers design, teach, and manage virtual courses for their students. The program is open to any K-12 teacher, located anywhere with internet access. The first 125 K-12 teachers in Mississippi who apply and enroll will be eligible for 100 percent tuition assistance for the first four classes. Participating teachers will earn a graduate certification in online instruction, as well as credits that can be applied toward a master’s degree. There is no other program like it in Mississippi.
The idea for the Online Instruction and Design Program was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic, which required teachers nationwide to switch to virtual learning, virtually overnight. Melton and faculty members within the MC School of Education began brainstorming ways to help overwhelmed teachers cope with the sudden, dramatic change in how they taught their students day-to-day.
Their idea became a visionary grant proposal. In December, MC was awarded a $1.114 million GEER (Governor’s Educational Enhancement Relief Act) grant through the CARES Act to design and implement the course. The majority of the grant funds will be used to provide tuition assistance for Mississippi teachers who wish to complete the program.
“The pandemic will end, but virtual instruction is here to stay,” Melton said. “The world has changed so much since last year. We’ve turned a new page in education and found a way to reach more students. The skills we’ll share with these teachers will be valuable tools in their toolbelts from now on.”
MC alumnus DeSean Dyson has joined the MC faculty to help teach the new online course, as well as to teach undergraduate courses and serve as an advisor in the MC School of Education.
Dyson comes to MC from The Redeemer’s School, an independent Pre-K4–sixth-grade school in Jackson, where he served as head of school. He also brings experience as a teacher, coach, and administrator at the middle and high school levels. Dyson is a graduate of Belhaven University and holds a master’s of education in educational leadership from MC.
“DeSean had an outstanding track record at The Redeemer’s School,” Melton said. “He guided students and their families through the pandemic, and he was an amazing source of support to The Redeemer’s School’s teachers during that challenging time. We wanted someone like DeSean at MC – someone who can reach out to more teachers in our state and encourage and support them the same way he supported the teachers at The Redeemer School. His work at MC will have a ripple effect in Mississippi and beyond.”
“It’s very clear to me that I’m supposed to come to MC,” Dyson said. “My career has been focused on serving children and young people through education. At The Redeemer’s School, I had a chance to speak into the lives of young children. Now, with this progression to MC, I’ll be able to look out into a classroom of aspiring teachers and help them find ways to serve Christ as teachers. I have an opportunity to impact teachers, who will in turn impact more schools and more students. To be a part of this season of those college students’ lives is so exciting.”