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Notre Dame, AACC are teaming up Teacher-degree course aims to halt shortage of elementary instructors


In an effort to head off a teacher shortage, the College of Notre Dame of Maryland will offer an undergraduate elementary education degree program at Anne Arundel Community College next month, and graduates will get a near-guarantee of a teaching job offer in county public schools.

Anne Arundel teacher recruiters, who expect they will need to hire 3,256 teachers over the next four years -- more than half their work force -- are pumping up efforts to find teachers. They are looking beyond routine job fairs to these kinds of partnerships to entice qualified teachers to their school system.

"We are home-growing our own teachers now," said Nancy M. Mann, county schools assistant superintendent of instruction. "These kinds of partnerships with the community college and colleges are a must to attract quality teachers to our schools."

Students who enroll in the program at Anne Arundel will first take courses to earn an associate of arts degree, then continue with College of Notre Dame courses for a baccalaureate degree in liberal arts and elementary education, said Frances M. Turcott, director of community college public relations.

Students who wish to earn a master of arts in teaching or leadership may enroll in College of Notre Dame classes at the community college, said Susie Breaux, a Notre Dame spokeswoman.

Mann said graduates will be offered a job if they pass the national teacher's exam and if the elementary school principal where they were student teachers recommends them.

The expected shortage of teachers is not unique to Anne Arundel County. While teachers were plentiful in the late 1960s and early 1970s, those baby boomers are nearing retirement age.

Further fueling the need for teachers is a push to reduce class size in the elementary grades. Special education, mathematics, science, computer science and foreign-language teachers are in the highest demand, experts say, because college students with those specialized skills often look for jobs anywhere but in schools.

Notre Dame offers the same program at Harford Community College, Breaux said. Partnerships with community colleges allow an increase in student enrollment without incurring the cost of new buildings at Notre Dame's Baltimore campus, she said.

Tuition for the liberal arts program at Anne Arundel is $58 a credit hour, Turcott said. Undergraduate tuition for the Notre Dame courses at Anne Arundel is $380 a credit hour for the first 11 credits and graduate tuition is $248 a credit hour, Breaux said.

"The convenience factor is great here," Turcott said. "We are offering these classes in the county. Students don't have to leave the county to get a bachelor's or a master's degree."

Pub Date: 12/22/98

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