The application deadline for the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Mississippi Teacher Residency (MTR) program has been extended beyond Feb. 15, which was the priority application deadline.
The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) voted in December 2021 to award more than $9.8 million in grant funds to five universities to cover tuition and expenses for up to 200 aspiring educators seeking a master’s degree in elementary and special education. Those universities are Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University. MTR now includes 42 participating school districts based on each university’s established process for partnering with geographical critical shortage area districts. Confirmed participating school districts are included in the application and will be updated as needed on the MTR website.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all 200 slots are filled or the universities can no longer accept candidates, whichever happens first. Spring 2023 college graduates interested in applying could receive pending eligibility and go on a waiting list until degree conferral. Candidates who submitted complete applications before Feb. 15 will have priority for acceptance into the program.
Accepted applicants will receive a full scholarship, training alongside a mentor teacher, testing support, and ongoing professional development. They must commit to teach in a geographical critical shortage district serving low-income children, racial/ethnic minorities and children with disabilities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Aspiring educators with a bachelor’s degree are encouraged to apply, but only applicants who meet program criteria can be accepted. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, applicants must either meet the minimum required passing score on the Praxis Core, have a 21 or higher on the ACT/SAT equivalent, or have a 3.0 GPA (60 hours of coursework). When applying, applicants will select up to two university-district partnership programs they want to join.
All complete applications will be provided to MTR universities to determine candidate eligibility. Eligible applications will then be provided to each candidate’s top-choice MTR partner school districts, which may then opt to interview applicants either in-person or virtually. After interviews are complete, the MDE will conduct a matching process based on information from MTR applicants, universities and school districts. Applicants will be notified of their possible acceptance into the MTR program by May 2023.
MTR is one of the state’s strategies to address the national teacher shortage. MDE’s Office of Teaching and Leading has operated MTR since 2018 to increase the number of qualified teachers entering and remaining in the profession. MTR is part of a statewide strategy to expand and diversify the teacher pipeline, so all students have teachers who are well-prepared, appropriately licensed and can serve as role models. The project is supported by American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to cover the grants.