A three-decade old program is looking to expand to help combat the teacher shortage crisis in the State of Illinois. The Golden Apple program recently announced the launch of its “Accelerators Program” at Eastern Illinois University and Blackburn College. Golden Apple President Alan Mather was in Jacksonville this afternoon discussing the possible addition of Illinois College to the program in the near future. Mather says the program can put 50 new teachers in central, western, and southern Illinois public school classrooms within 2 years: “It is a one-year program for career changers who have bachelor’s degrees or seniors in college who did not go through schools of education where they will receive a $30,000 stipend. They will officially enroll at Blackburn College or Eastern Illinois University for this year and they’ll be placed into a school district in their community. After one year of being in that school and taking classes primarily online, they’ll be able to be a teacher in the classroom by Year Two.”
Mather says the program is starting small in its first year but is looking to expand in the number of offerings for subject areas, the number of students, and hopefully the number of schools involved in the accelerators program. “With the initial funding from the state, we are launching it small with just 50 career changers or seniors in college. The plan is with the state funding to blow it out to 150 in year two and be able to expand into other schools in the area. With this first year, we are just in K-12 special education and focusing on the STEM areas in high schools. Then, in year two will be able to move into elementary schools and other areas like high school English and Physical Education is a huge need.”
Mather says the first round of applications for the Accelerators program has closed, but it will reopen on July 1st for the next round. He says the scholar program is still open for application until April 3rd. To learn more about the program go to goldenapple.org/accelerators for the accelerators program and goldenapple.org/scholars for the scholars program.