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A new opportunity for aspiring Southeast Texas teachers
ORANGE - by Lauren Huet
There's a new option for aspiring teachers. Lamar State College-Orange is reopening its teaching certification program to help fill the state's teacher shortage. Jimmy Grimes is back on his old campus, although he originally went to school somewhere else.
"I graduated from McNeese State University with an undergraduate degree in mass communications and sociology in '03," said Grimes.
He planned to be a sports writer, but during his last semester decided he wanted to teach.
"With the opportunity of being able to teach, especially at this age level that I teach and work with, I have a chance to lay a foundation to help kids for the rest of their life," said Grimes. "And I was like, that's what I want to do."
So, he took the Accelerated Certification for Educators, or ACE, Program at Lamar State College-Orange.
"The people that come to us for the ACE program already have to have a bachelor's degree," said the Director of College Success, Mary Sizemore, "and are people that are typically wanting a career change, and realize that they do have that passion to teach and want to make differences in the lives of children."
The program closed in 2012 but is reopening to meet a need for teachers.
"Well, we had the ACE Certification Program for ten years before and the need for Teachers in Texas kind of dwindled," said Sizemore. "But recently TEA has announced that there is going to be a big gap for teachers, and they're not going to be able to fill it with certified teachers. So we felt like bringing back the ACE program on a limited basis for those areas that are needed would be something very beneficial."
The new program offers certification in Generalist EC-6, which allows teachers to teach English, math, science, music, art, health, social studies, and physical education at the elementary level through sixth grade. It will offer Generalist 4-8, which allows teachers to teach English, science, math, and or social studies classes at the middle school level. The program also offers Math grades 7-12, and Trade and Industrial.
The college also began an ACE Program Advisory Board made up of Southeast Texas principals, superintendents, and educators.
"And we asked them is there a need for these teachers? We know what TEA is saying, but in our area is there a need?" said Sizemore. "And we got a strong response that yes there is a big need for these teachers. We have positions that need to be filled."
Grimes has taught for eight years in Southeast Texas.
"I am currently going to be going to teach at Vidor ISD at the Vidor Middle School, and I'll be teaching fifth grade reading ELA," said Grimes.
He free-lances sports articles on the side, but teaching is his passion.
"Opportunity to change lives, to really affect lives in a positive way. Be a positive role model," said Grimes.
The deadline to apply for the ACE Program for the fall of 2014 is August 15.