ANNAPOLIS – One way Maryland education officials are trying to lessen the impact of the massive exodus is with a program focused on new teacher training.
About 40 campuses are designated as Professional Development Schools and serve as training facilities for rookie teachers across the state.
“At these schools, new teachers learn what’s expected hands- on and through purposefully instruction while they are on the job,” said Nancy S. Grasmick, Maryland’s state superintendent of schools.
“The reality is new teachers from colleges and universities with no experience are going to be hired in larger numbers,” Grasmick said. “We need to prepare the school districts and the future hires because education in Maryland will not suffer.”
Rosemarie S. Thompson heads one of these schools. She is the principal of Jessup Elementary School in western Anne Arundel County, which last year, Jessup became a Professional Development School. Currently, Thompson has 22 new teachers and 18 veterans on staff.
Aside from having a higher number of less-experienced teachers, another part of the PDS’s mission is to train aspiring teachers.
Thompson and her seasoned educators work with would-be teachers from Towson State University and Anne Arundel Community College. Towson students begin in their junior year, spending two days a week at Jessup until graduation. The community college students spend at least one day during the week. This year, there are 21 Towson and 14 community college students participating.
“This program gives them (students) three semesters, instead of the traditional six to eight weeks, to learn their jobs hands- on,” said Thompson, an educator for 27 years. “It also puts them in an atmosphere where opportunities for growth can be sought openly without any shame or embarrassment.”
“They observe classroom activities, they are matched with a teacher at the school, they work with students one-on-one, they plan classroom lessons or events,” Thompson said. “More importantly, it helps build confidence.” Professional Development Schools range from elementary to high schools. Other participating higher education institutions include Bowie State University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Maryland College Park. -30-