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For Immediate Release (01-33)
Date: April 25, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, Montgomery College (240-567-7952)
               Kate Harrison, Montgomery County Public Schools (301-279-3853)
               Stacey Carter-Lane, Towson University (410-704-6191)

Montgomery County Schools, Montgomery College, Towson University Launch '2+2+2' Partnership to Grow Teacher Education Programs
Effort Leads Students from High School through College and Back to Classroom

(Rockville, Maryland) -- Bolstering efforts to increase the number of high school graduates going into teaching, Montgomery College and Montgomery County Public Schools are teaming up with Towson University to help provide students with a seamless training path from high school through college, and ultimately, to a job in the field.

Leaders from the three institutions -- including Dr. Hoke Smith, president of Towson University; Dr. Charlene R. Nunley, president of Montgomery College; and Dr. James A. Williams, deputy superintendent of MCPS-- today officially signed the "2+2+2" articulation agreement during a ceremony at Montgomery College's Rockville Campus.

The second such agreement between Montgomery College, MCPS and a state university, this partnership with Towson brings the schools and the community college together with the university that is the state's largest producer of teachers. It provides for the recruitment of students in the last two years of high school, the first two years of college at Montgomery College -- in pursuit of an associate's degree in early childhood education -- and completion of the third and fourth years of work towards a baccalaureate degree at Towson.

Early childhood education majors at Towson -- who, through this program, will be able to take their first two years of coursework at Montgomery College -- learn theoretical principles of teaching and learning. They apply those principles by working directly with young children. The program leads to Maryland certification to teach children from birth to third grade.

A similar "2+2+2" program to recruit, educate and train teachers was launched between MCPS, Montgomery College and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in February.

Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening recognized the initiative last month as an example of the kind of innovative efforts that must be developed to help resolve a dire shortage of teachers, locally, and across the state and nation.

"What better way to secure great teachers than to prepare them early and provide attention and guidance along the way," said Dr. Smith, the Towson University president. "This new partnership does just that."

"Closing the gap between the need for teachers and the number of young people entering the field is one of the greatest challenges we all are facing in the field of education," said Dr. Nunley, of Montgomery College. "Through creative partnerships such as this, we are helping to ensure that we will be successful in this effort."

"As the state's largest employer of teachers, we have a particular vested interest in the success of this partnership," said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools. "Everyone wins here -- especially the students, the future teachers, who participate."

Starting in the junior year of high school, MCPS will orient participating students to the teaching profession and provide pre-internship experiences and internship opportunities. Students who wish to enter the program apply to both Montgomery College and Towson University and follow a structured, four-year curriculum, drawing on the resources of both institutions.

After four years, the students will graduate with an associate's degree from Montgomery College, a bachelor's degree from Towson University and Maryland teacher certification. MCPS will work with the students throughout their collegiate career, providing internship opportunities and, prior to graduation, recruiting them to teach in Montgomery County.

Approximately 25 percent of teachers hired each year by MCPS are graduates of the school system. Programs such as this are being developed to help boost the number of students entering the teaching field and to enhance the quality of their preparation.

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