Forging Partnerships to Address Teacher Shortages in Rural Settings: Engaging Key Players
Keywords:educator preparation programs, partnerships, rural areas, special education
Discussing the topic of special education teacher shortages across the United States has become commonplace. Although more widespread, special education teacher shortages in rural areas have gained less attention. Teachers in these areas face unique challenges such as overcoming geographic barriers to providing high-quality services, the isolation endemic to rural poverty, and having limited access to resources in schools. Additionally, students with disabilities living in rural areas are more likely to be supported by teachers who are ill-prepared, lack experience, and/or fail to possess the qualifications necessary to meet diverse learning needs. Addressing these challenges requires innovative partnerships between national, state, and university personnel to create systemic change to recruit and retain special educators. The purpose of this article is to describe a partnership between The Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), Education Preparation Programs (EPPs), including Delta State University, and a cross-section of special education directors in the Mississippi Delta and other regions that utilized The Educator Shortages in Special Education Toolkit (Hayes et al., 2019) as a guide, which resulted in the development of the Special Educator Mentoring Framework. This article will explore the Special Educator Mentoring Framework that engaged stakeholders in purposeful activities through the four-step cyclical process to plan, design, implement, and evaluate efforts to address the special educator shortages in rural regions of Mississippi. This unique collaboration highlights promising practices to promote special education teacher preparation and strengthen teaching practice.
Copyright (c) 2023 Dr. Anna Macedonia, Dr. Corlis Snow , Dr. Kelly Acosta, Dr. Lisa White , Christy Hunt
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