GCS Awarded Transition to Teaching Grant

Guilford County Schools (GCS) has graduated five impressive classes of lateral entry teachers through its Alternative Certification Track (ACT) program, which provides an in-house, inexpensive alternative for licensure to teach in the state of North Carolina.

Thanks to a Transition to Teaching Grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education, the district will expand its alternative licensure program with the GCS STEM Alternative Licensure Academy. The primary goal of the STEM Academy is to increase the number of minority candidates with STEM majors, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and help them transition to education and teach their STEM subject in high-need schools.

“Responding to the North Carolina Department of Instruction’s recent identification of two major high-need licensure areas – mathematics and science – as well as acknowledging a shortage of STEM-certified teachers in schools across the nation, we are confident that this new licensure program can fill this gap,” said Dr. Amy Holcombe, the district’s executive director of talent development.

To meet the district’s need to recruit strong professionals to high-need schools, the STEM Academy will partner with four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), including North Carolina Central University, Winston-Salem State University, Bennett College and North Carolina A&T State University.

“The goal is to recruit a cohort of 15 individuals each year with the first class beginning next summer,” said Holcombe.

The grant provides $2 million over five years and will help support a full-time recruiter. In addition, this alternative route to certification will offer teachers support for the Praxis II test, reward for passing this test, meaningful, high-quality professional development for the teacher and support for the teacher’s mentor and principal.