The JoCo Teach program at Smithfield-Selma High School (SSS) was awarded a $120,000 grant from the Education and Workforce Innovation Fund. The fund, created by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Career and Technical Education department, will provide JoCo Teach with technology, curriculum, and educational experiences to help train high school students who are interested in becoming teachers.
JoCo Teach, a program designed to invest in and recruit diverse students seeking a degree as educators, provides a seamless pathway for students to earn their Associates in Science in Teacher Education through Johnston Community College (JCC) while attending a traditional public high school. After graduation, students who maintain a 3.0 GPA are automatically accepted into NC State’s School of Education, where they can finish their Bachelor’s degree in two years to become a teacher.
The partnership between Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS), JCC, and NC State works to provide a teacher pipeline to Johnston County Schools, especially to schools along the I-95 corridor. In addition to taking college level courses, JoCo Teach students have access to JCC and NC State academic advising, on-campus enrichment opportunities, and academic support. At NC State, students will be placed in JCPS for student teaching.
The grant was established “to foster innovation in education that will lead to more students graduating college and [becoming] career ready.” The funds will also allow JoCo Teach students to participate in co-teaching opportunities in local classrooms, register to attend regional and national teacher conferences, attend field trip experiences to high performing schools, and participate in paid internships for summer reading camps serving JCPS elementary schools. These opportunities will provide students with the skills they need for a successful career in education.
The JoCo Teach program is the first of its kind in North Carolina and will serve as a pilot to help train rising educators who will hopefully return to their hometowns and rural communities to serve as teachers.