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home : news : state news free February 28, 2020

1/24/2020 9:07:00 AM
ROE discusses plan to address area teacher shortage
New "Accelerators" Program, to launch in the 2020/21 School Year

VANDALIA — With Illinois facing a shortage of 1,800 educators in the upcoming school year and the country forecasted to face a shortage of 200,000 by 2025, Golden Apple is launching an initiative to address this crisis and help fill critical positions throughout the state: the Golden Apple Accelerators Program, a new teacher residency and licensure program that will expedite the preparation of highly-qualified teachers in areas of the state most in need, including central Illinois. The Regional Office of Education #3 (ROE #3) is among Golden Apple’s first partners in the program’s inaugural year.

“The teacher shortage crisis demands our immediate attention as it poses a real threat to the future of students in every corner of our state, especially the most vulnerable who are from economically challenged communities with underfunded and under-resourced schools,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple. “There is no greater priority facing the education community today, and as an organization that has successfully championed this work, we are positioned to meet this head on and are very excited to count ROE #3 among our partners.”

The Accelerators program is recruiting (1) college seniors not already in a teacher preparation program and (2) career changers who hold a bachelor’s degree. Thanks to the Illinois General Assembly, which approved $750,000 in funding for year one of the program in May of 2019, and Governor Pritzker who signed the bill shortly after its passage, the Accelerators program is accepting applicants until February 20, 2020.

In the program’s inaugural year, Golden Apple will recruit and prepare 50 candidates who will begin their training in the summer of 2020, earn their teaching license by summer of 2021, and enter the profession of teaching in the 2021/22 school year.

“Golden Apple recognizes the need for immediate solutions to address the teacher shortage crisis and their new Accelerators program is just the innovative solution we need,” said Dr. Jennifer Garrison, Vandalia Superintendent. “We are confident in Golden Apple’s research, planning, and dedication in launching this program to change the lives of our kids and are excited to count ourselves as partners.”

The Accelerators program will provide a one-year residency and training program, which will serve the dual purpose of providin g immediate, additional teaching assistance to understaffed districts while better preparing the cohort of new teachers through significant experience in active classrooms. Highly qualified mentors from Golden Apple will oversee the preparation.

Golden Apple is partnering with Blackburn College, Eastern Illinois University and Regional Offices of Education (ROEs): 3, 13, 39, 40 and 47. Here’s how the partnership will work: Partner districts will provide a valuable residency placement to an Accelerator, place a mentor teacher from the district with the Accelerator, allow for appropriate release time to complete university coursework, and partner to hire the Accelerator and enhance the development of the Accelerator in the two years following the residency. To learn more about or apply for the program, interested parties can visit:

Golden Apple will recruit program participants who are:
- College seniors and career changers with bachelor’s degrees not in teaching but with backgrounds that will help them to teach in high-need areas, such as special education, STEM and bilingual education.

- Committed to four years of teaching in southern, central, or western Illinois school districts.

Program participants will receive:
- A $30,000 stipend to apply towards coursework or housing as they pursue their teaching license

- Teaching licensure within 15 months

- A one-year residency and training program in a targeted partner school district in southern, central or western Illinois

- Coursework at a partner university

- Job placement in a partner school district in southern, central or western Illinois

- Instruction from award-winning educators

- Mentoring support for the first years of teaching

In addition to the Accelerators program, Golden Apple is addressing the teacher shortage through its established Scholars program, which is a longer-term solution that uniquely prepares high school seniors and first- and second-year Illinois college students to thrive in the most challenging school environments where resilient teachers are needed the most. In response to the teacher shortage, this year marks the fifth consecutive year that Golden Apple has inducted more than 200 Scholars into the program. In total, more than 800 undergraduates are preparing to become teachers via the Golden Apple Scholars program filling vacancies in schools-of-need throughout Illinois.

About Golden Apple
Golden Apple’s mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools-of-need. Our leading-edge preparation delivers exceptional teachers who make an impact. We help students thrive in the classroom and in life. Since our beginning, we have recognized master educators annually; and, these master educators prepare the future generation of teachers. Our vision is an Illinois in which every classroom has a great teacher and to realize this, we are committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage throughout Illinois. Visit for more information.

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