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Academy of Teaching and Learning Collaborates with Grand Rapids Schools to Meet Need for Teachers

Ferris State UniversityNineteen ninth-grade students in the Grand Rapids Public School system constitute the first class in the district’s Academy of Teaching and Learning through their participation in Ferris State University’s collaborative Teacher Cadet program.

Andrea Kitomary, the College of Education and Human Services’ student retention and recruitment coordinator, said this group of students, based at Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids would be the first to graduate from the program as their 10th-through 12th-grade classes will be added, annually, through 2021-22.

“Having 19 students surpassed our original goal for 12 to 15 Teacher Cadet program participants in this first year,” Kitomary said. “One of our goals is to expose students to their community and Ferris State’s main campus.”

The group was scheduled to visit Big Rapids and Ferris on Monday, Sept. 24.

Dual enrollment classes offered will be offered as part of the program’s curriculum, and the COEHS dean’s office said the university’s education courses would provide the student with nine college credits. Those who enroll at Ferris would receive an additional three credits toward their degree.

“Our Teacher Cadet curriculum was produced in South Carolina,” Kitomary said. “I joined two instructors, this summer, for a week of certified training so that we are proficient in helping these students become acclimated with what they should expect before they start their careers as teachers.”

Ferris’ executive director for Community Engagement, Tony Baker, is a trustee with the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education. He said when the Teacher Cadet program was announced, in December 2017, that the partners intend to develop a diverse field of capable teaching candidates to help meet the K-12 district’s needs to recruit and retain teachers.

PHOTO CAPTION: Freshman students in Ferris State University’s Academy of Teaching and Learning have begun their first year of classes at Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids.