West Chester University Program Aims to Help School Districts ‘Grow Their Own’ Teachers

Imere Williams
Image via Jessica Griffin, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
West Chester University student Imere Williams has wanted to be a teacher since a young age. Now, he's part of WCU's PRIZE Program.

In the past decade, the number of people completing teacher education programs has dropped significantly, falling by 25 percent according to a federal report. States like Pennsylvania are seeing even more dramatic declines. But West Chester’s PRIZE (Partnering in Raising Inclusive, Zealous Educators) is hoping to change that, writes Susan Snyder for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

This program helps school districts “grow their own” teachers. It allows high school students to take dual-enrollment classes for teacher education at no charge. The program also gives the students access to internships and mentors.  

To make it accessible, students can opt to attend the classes either in-person or online. Students must have at least a minimum of 3.0 GPA to qualify. During college, attendants will be student teachers at their “host district.”  

Kennett Consolidated School District is one of the first to partner with WCU in this endeavor. The first batch of aspiring teachers will start in January. The district has agreed to hire three graduates of the program each year.  

“We don’t do a good enough job telling our stories,” said Desha Williams, dean of West Chester University’s College of Education and Social Work. “We do the work, we celebrate students’ accomplishments, and then we just get up and do it again the next year.” 

Read more about West Chester’s PRIZE program in The Philadelphia Inquirer.  

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