The Carthage R-9 School District has partnered with Missouri Southern State University for a new program to highlight the education profession and attract and support students along the path to becoming high-quality educators.

The TEACH Scholars program will offer Carthage High School students the opportunity to earn dual credit through Missouri Southern, gain early field experience and exposure to the teaching profession, and receive financial incentives along the way.

Through the high school’s Teach & Train program, participants will learn firsthand what it takes to become a teacher – from developing lesson plans to classroom instruction – from Carthage teachers. As they progress through the teacher education program at Missouri Southern, they’ll be welcomed back home again for their practicum and student teaching.

“We need more highly qualified teachers. We also want our kids to come back and stay in Carthage,” said Dr. Mark Baker, Carthage R-9 superintendent. “This program will allow our students to learn our system, understand the dynamics of the environment and will have been trained with our district’s expectations to be to be ready for Day 1. It’s also good for economic development if they come back to live and work here.”

In launching TEACH Scholars, the Carthage R-9 district and Missouri Southern have worked closely together in order to maximize the partnership, said Lorinda Hackett, dean of the College of Education.

“Missouri Southern will work in concert with Carthage to assign our students to the necessary grade level as they progress through our program,” she said. “They’ll be back in Carthage for their junior year practicum, and will culminate with doing their student teaching in Carthage.”

To be eligible for the program, Carthage students must pass MSSU’s dual credit course EDUC 100-Introduction to Teacher Education, complete the TEACH Scholars Lions and Tigers Together application, and be formally admitted to the university’s Teacher Education program.

During students’ junior and senior years at Missouri Southern, they will qualify for a Carthage R-9 Foundation scholarship and the university’s Dr. Al Cade Scholarship.

Participants in the program do not have to make a commitment to teach in Carthage after graduation, said Baker.

“They don’t have to commit to teach in Carthage; however, if they decide to work for us, it will be a good match,” he said.