CBHE Approves New Teaching Assistant/Substitute Teacher Certificate Program at Southeast

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

March 13, 2006 – Two new teaching assistant/substitute teacher certificate programs with options in elementary and special education, and middle and secondary education will be offered by Southeast Missouri State University beginning this summer.

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) approved the two new programs at its meeting in February in Jefferson City, Mo. The new 60-credit-hour certificate programs will be delivered on the main Southeast campus in Cape Girardeau as well as at the Perryville Area Higher Education Center, the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center, the Harry L. Crisp Bootheel Education Center in Malden, Mo., and the Kennett Area Higher Education Center.

The Teaching Assistant Preparation Certificate course of study helps prepare prospective students for employment as a teaching assistant, paraprofessional or substitute teacher in a public or private school in Missouri. The certificate requires the successful completion of 60 credit hours of study. The first focus area is for students interested in working in elementary or special education classrooms. Students also can select to focus on preparing for the middle or secondary education classroom.

“These 60 hours can lead to immediate employment as a teaching assistant or substitute teacher, however students completing these certificates, can also utilize the credit hours toward a bachelor’s degree if they decide they want to continue their studies on a full-time or part-time basis,” said Dr. Randy Shaw, dean of the School of Polytechnic Studies and assistant provost of extended learning at Southeast.

Teaching assistants and substitute teachers work with children and young people, in addition to providing instructional and clerical support for classroom teachers. They also tutor and assist children in learning class material using the teacher’s lesson plans and providing students with individualized attention. Teacher assistants and substitute teachers also supervise students in the cafeteria, schoolyard and hallways, or on field trips. They record grades, set up equipment and help prepare materials for instruction.

Students entering the new programs will focus on skills in such areas as basal knowledge, presentation, behavior, instructional planning and delivery, communication, problem solving and research.

The new certificate programs are in response to data from the Southeast Missouri Workforce Investment Board that identified a significant need for teaching assistants in the southeast Missouri region. The University also conducted a survey of local superintendents that verified the need for qualified substitute teachers, according to Shaw.

Shaw says schools in southeast Missouri have a shortage of qualified people who can assist and substitute in elementary, special, middle and secondary schools. These paraprofessionals provide critical support for quality classroom instruction, he said.

He says the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics, is predicting the employment of teacher assistants to grow somewhat faster than average for all occupations through 2012. Although school enrollments are projected to increase only slowly over the next decade, the student population for which teacher assistants are most needed – special education students and students for whom English is not their first language – is expected to increase more rapidly than the general school-age population.

Shaw says the new certificate programs will not require any additional expenditures since the programs will use courses already offered at each site as part of bachelor’s degree programs offered by the University.