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AASU to Place New Career Teachers through "Georgia Responds"

SAVANNAH, GA––Armstrong Atlantic State University's College of Education is collaborating with the colleges of education throughout the state to bring Georgia Responds—a quick-start teacher training program—to its eleven-county service region. The program is being launched this week throughout the state.

"The idea for the new program was originally developed in response to the September 11 attacks," said Paul Beare, dean of AASU's College of Education. "It is Georgia's way of responding to the crisis and the needs of individuals who lost positions with the downturn in the economy."

All fifteen colleges of education around the state came together to determine what they could do to make a contribution. Their solution was to create jobs through Georgia Responds, a new program that is part of the Georgia Teacher Alternative Preparation Program (GTAPP). GTAPP was launched a year ago to bring professionals into the field of teaching as a second career. It was established to help schools meet critical staffing needs resulting from a significant shortage of qualified teachers in the state.

Armstrong Atlantic has employed the GTAPP model since its inception and already has placed eighty teachers in the schools within the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools. These placements reduced the shortage by nearly one half in less than one academic year for this school district.

One out of three candidates who applied to AASU's GTAPP program was placed in a position in the schools, and more placements are expected in the year ahead. The university will continue placing teachers through Georgia Responds in its eleven-county service region that includes: Effingham, Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, and Wayne counties.

"AASU anticipates the same sort of success with Georgia Responds," said Patricia Coberly, head of Middle, Secondary, and Adult Education at AASU. "Our goal is not to fill the classrooms quickly," said Coberly, "but to prepare candidates to become successful teachers who remain in the field for many years to come."

Georgia Responds is intended for individuals with lapsed or expired teaching certificates that want to re-enter the teaching profession. It is also for those with significant working experience and a baccalaureate or higher degree who wish to teach as a second career.

Candidates are initially screened by the school districts and are then interviewed by an advisory board of AASU faculty. Those who meet all the admissions requirements begin with an intensive summer institute that consists of three graduate level courses followed by extensive mentoring.

Georgia Responds offers a fast and flexible format for the course work and intensive supervised classroom practice necessary for certification. The program will carry the full Board of Regents' Educator Preparation Guarantee and will operate with cross-university transfer and flexibility and extensive collaboration among the University System colleges of education.

GTAPP programs open in January for individuals with lapsed teaching certificates and no later than Summer 2002 for applicants with a bachelor's or higher degree seeking first-time certification. Participants will be eligible for full employment under an intern certificate in August 2002. Those who complete the program can obtain a renewable teaching certificate from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

Information sessions will be held for AASU's quick-start teacher education programs on January 24 beginning at 6:00 P.M. and January 26 at 10:00 A.M. in the university's Fine Arts Auditorium. A Georgia Responds website is online with information on the program and links to the participating institutions at gcsu.edu/georgiaresponds.

Armstrong Atlantic's College of Education offers GTAPP certification programs through its special education, middle grades, early childhood, and health and physical education departments. Certification is also offered in English, history, mathematics, social science, Spanish, biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics.

The other participating colleges of education are part of the University System of Georgia and are as follows: Albany State University, Augusta State University, Clayton College & State University, Columbus State University, Fort Valley State University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Southern University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, North Georgia College & State University, State University of West Georgia, University of Georgia, and Valdosta State University.

For more details about Georgia Responds or other programs offered by AASU's College of Education, call the GTAPP Office at 912.961.3179.

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