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School District Five partners with Columbia College to extend alternative certification pathway oppo

Irmo, SC – Columbia College has extended to School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties an opportunity to partner in an exciting opportunity that has the potential to impact the teacher shortage in our state and district.

The Alternative Pathways for Educator Certification (APEC) program extends alternative certification pathway opportunities to support staff currently employed within the district. The program allows participants to complete coursework leading to a degree in several areas including Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle-Level Education (all four content areas), Secondary Math, Secondary English, and Multicategorical Special Education.

Two School District Five support employees applied and both have been accepted into the program, Kim Carroll from Chapin Middle School and Teon Petree from CrossRoads Intermediate School. They were selected after completing interviews with a selection committee from Columbia College. Both candidates demonstrated a commitment to the profession during their interviews.

“I have been wanting to achieve my teaching certification in special education to expand my opportunities within the district; however, I did not know how to juggle going back to school, while working and having a family,” Carroll said. “When I found out about being selected to the APEC program, I was so excited about the endless possibilities this can present to me and that I can continue to do what I love!”

Teon Petree will be pursuing certification in middle-level social studies. He said, “One reason I wanted to enter the program is to have a positive impact in my students’ lives the same way some of my best teachers have had in mine. When I was selected I was very thankful and excited about the opportunity. It’s just a blessing to now be a part of the APEC Program at Columbia College.”

Dr. Marla Sanders, Director of the APEC Center at Columbia College said, “Columbia College is proud to give APEC Fellows like Kimberly and Teon the opportunity to achieve certification. This unique pathway provides a life-changing experience for our Fellows, many of whom have worked in education for several years and have long had the desire to become certified teachers. The APEC Program gives them this opportunity!”

The opportunity aligns with School District Five’s strategic plan priority #1 which is to “recruit, hire, and retain highly effective, diverse staff who understands what students need to succeed in a competitive, global workplace.” The opportunity is also aligned with the 2019-2020 Superintendent's Priority to "focus our work decisions on/around our strategic plan."

School District Five Director of Personnel Tamara Turner said, “The APEC program will allow School District Five to support the professional growth of talented, committed individuals who are already employed in support roles. This will be beneficial to the district's efforts to attract, recruit, and retain individuals devoted to the teaching profession.”

Orientation for the candidates begins in June.

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