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SCC and Clemson University have partnered to offer Upstate men an opportunity to become teachers through a unique educational mentorship initiative aimed at increasing South Carolina's diverse teacher pool of candidates - the Call Me MISTER program. SCC's MISTER program is the first in Spartanburg and will begin in fall of 2017 with its first cohort of students.
"The mission of the Call Me MISTER is to increase the pool of available teachers from a broader more diverse background of students particularly among our state's lowest performing elementary schools," explains Frederick Keenan, site coordinator for SCC's new program. "The term MISTER is an acronym for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models, and is primarily a mentoring program where young minority students will be mentored into effective leaders, well trained teachers, and will then become mentors themselves to students once in the classroom.
"The overall goal of the program is to increase teacher diversity in the classroom but equally as important is our goal to fulfill minority students' hopes and aspirations of not only becoming teachers, but effective leaders in their community as well," adds Keenan.
First begun in 2000 at Clemson University, Call Me MISTER combined the special strengths and resources of a Clemson as a research-oriented public university with the individualized instructional offered by four historically black SC colleges: Benedict College, Claflin University, Morris College and South Carolina State University. These initial partnerships laid a strong foundation for the program, which today includes a network of six, two-year colleges across the state, broadening the program's reach even more to potential MISTER candidates. Keenan hopes to grow SCC's program annually, adding a new cohort of students each fall.
To provide even greater opportunity and access, MISTER students have the option of first attending one of the MISTER two-year partner colleges before transferring to one of the four-year institutions to complete their baccalaureate degree. In addition, the project has limited enrollment in the middle school Master of Art in Teaching program.
The MISTER project at four-year colleges provides participating students the following:
- Tuition assistance through Loan Forgiveness programs for admitted students pursuing approved programs of study in teacher education at participating colleges.
- An academic support system to help assure their success.
- A cohort system for social and cultural support.
- Assistance with job placement.
At SCC, Call Me MiSTER students will receive:
- Assistance with textbook costs
- An academic support system to help assure their success
- A cohort system for social and cultural support
"We are recruiting potential students now for SCC's fall 2017 semester and our first cohort," says Keenan. "This is an amazing opportunity for prospective students interested in becoming teachers in SC; they will be part of SCC's first cohort of MISTER students, which is really exciting."
Keenan says ideal MISTER candidates must possess leadership qualities as well as adhere to the following in Academia and Program requirements:
- Major in elementary, early childhood education or K-12 certification areas
- Maintain a minimum of 2.5 grade point ratio during the first 60 hours
- Be enrolled for at least 16 hours of classes
- Adhere to SCC's attendance policies
- Not drop any class without advisement from the site coordinator
- Take the Praxis I exam by the end of the freshman year
- Conduct self in a manner that exemplifies values of a positive role model and mentor
- Attend all scheduled Call Me MISTER seminars and activities
- Develop a plan of action with the SCC site coordinator to assist in academic success
For more information on SCC's Call Me MISTER program, visit www.sccsc.edu/callmemister/ or contact Frederick Keenan at (864) 592-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.