MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - University of Memphis and Shelby County Schools are teaming up on an ambitious plan to recruit new teachers.
The River City partnership will give 20 teachers the opportunity to earn master's degrees in teachers of elementary mathematics.
The three-part plan is set to kick off in June 2018 and targets potential hometown heroes ready to give back.
Their goal is to not just recruit, but retain more teachers in Shelby County Schools.
"We want people to understand that teaching is a noble profession," Sharon Griffin, Chief of Schools for Shelby County Schools, said.
The partnership will also allow 20 rising high school seniors to take part in the CADET program, where they will spend a week at University of Memphis taking ACT and writing classes along with mentoring students in the superintendent's academy.
The River City Partnership also looks to encourage more men of color to teach pre-K through fifth grade through a program called "I am a Man. I teach."
"We have a huge challenge with our men of color wanting to teach in elementary schools," Griffin said.
According to U of M, there were only 66 black male SCS teachers in pre-K through fifth grades during the 2016-2017 school year.
"It's something amazing that resonates with one when they see themselves in someone else in a position that one, they did not know existed, two, that they could do," Kandi Hill-Clarke, UofM Dean of Education, said.
The partnership aims to create a pipeline where SCS attend UofM and then return to teach in SCS classrooms.
"If I can get 60 people interested a year in the education field and stay, that's going to be huge," Griffin said.