New program at AU is working to tackle teacher shortage

Tuesday, Augusta 13, 2019
News 12 this Morning

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- It's an on going problem, students in the classroom but, not enough teachers. A new program at Augusta University working to ease the gap across at CSRA.

The school year is in full swing but. as the work piles up it can be a lot of teachers.
That's where paraprofessionals are crucial.

"We prepare lessons for the students setting goals for them working one on one, teaching different behavior modifications, we are just basically the right hand for our lead teachers," explains paraprofessional, Jennifer Jones.

Jennifer Jones is a five year paraprofessional for Columbia County schools but, still has more schooling to do before she's certified to teach her own classroom. Jones tells News 12 that's where Augusta University comes in.

"Every person is at a different place in their education for me it's going to require another seven semesters; five to seven semesters of schooling before I will actually be in my student teaching and almost complete with the program."

This is the program's first year at Augusta University.
The first group consists of 15 paraprofessionals from Richmond, Columbia, Burke, and McDuffie counties.

"I've had the opportunity to work with really great lead teachers who have been willing to answer all my questions and just help me grow as a paraprofessional and learn the profession as we go," discusses her experiences.

One thing that stands out about the program for Jones is that it allows paraprofessionals to continue to work.

"As we are learning we get to put it into practice, we get to ask questions, we get the reinforcement so I feel like it's just a great opportunity for anyone that really wants to teach."

Augusta University proposed this program last year. So, within a year they've been able to get these school systems on board.

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