Thursday, April 04, 2019

Horace Mann donates $2,500 to fund UIS dual credit teacher education course for high school seniors

Horace Mann, a Springfield-based insurance and financial services company for educators, has donated $2,500 to the University of Illinois Springfield Teacher Education Department to help cover the cost of a dual credit course for high school seniors in Menard and Sangamon counties.

The goal of the dual credit course titled “Foundations of American Education” is to encourage more students to become teachers.

“We are always looking to provide solutions for our educator customers and find ways to attract students to this noble profession,” said Marita Zuraitis, Horace Mann president and CEO. “School officials and administrators tell us that finding teachers is becoming more difficult. We hope this program will encourage more high school students to explore the educator profession and give them a jump start on their college degree.”

According to a recent Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools survey, 89 percent of central Illinois school districts and 92 percent of southern Illinois districts are having issues with staffing teaching positions with qualified candidates.

“This unique program provides a local long-term solution to the teacher shortage crisis that Illinois and the nation is facing today, and creates an exciting partnership with UIS, Horace Mann and our local school districts to help our own students become future high-quality teachers,” said Jeff Vose, regional superintendent of schools for Sangamon and Menard counties. “I want to thank Horace Mann for their generous gift of $2,500 to help support tuition costs for these approximately 15-20 high school students from our region to attend these teaching courses at UIS.”

The dual credit course started in Fall Semester 2018 when 18 students from eight area high schools enrolled. The course is only the second dual credit option to be offered by the University of Illinois Springfield in its nearly 50 year history. Seniors earn both college and high school credit for completing the dual credit course.

“This course allows students to get a head start on their teaching degree and to provide the foundation of education at all levels”, said Scott Doerr, a UIS adjunct instructor who teaches the course and superintendent of the Nokomis School District.

The “Foundations of American Education” course counts toward general education credits for students who attend UIS to complete their bachelor’s degrees. The credits can also transfer to other institutions in the state if a student should choose to complete his or her education degree elsewhere.

Thanks to the support from Horace Mann, the cost of the course to high school students will be minimal. Students will be responsible for the cost of textbooks (rental, used and online options are available) when the course starts in August. Local students who are interested in the course should talk to their high school guidance counselor to register by the May 4 deadline.

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