Future Educators, Mentors To Attend USC Aiken as Part of Call Me MISTER Program
First Cohort To Attend Aiken Tech, USC Aiken Announced
Aiken, SC (07/30/2019) — The University of South Carolina Aiken, in partnership with Aiken Technical College, the Aiken County Public School District, and Clemson University, announced the five members of the school district's first-ever Call Me MISTER cohort of students.
The Call Me MISTER program is based at Clemson University and primarily recruits and prepares African American male students for teaching at the elementary or middle school level, where there remains a tremendous need for African American male teachers.
Despite student data from the S.C. Department of Education (2018-19) showing more than 33 percent or 257,409 of the state's 777,035 students are African American, data from the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) shows that just 3 percent or 1,461 of South Carolina's 50,863 teachers are African American males. That percentage is even lower in Aiken County, as CERRA data shows only 2 percent or 36 of the District's 1,526 teachers are African American males. In Aiken County elementary schools, the percentage drops again - to just 1 percent as eight of the school district's 789 elementary school teachers are African American males.
"The data we have is quite clear in this regard, recruiting African American males to the teaching profession remains an area of critical need, not only for our school district, but across our entire state," commented Aiken County Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford.
"Unfortunately, this situation is even more dire at the elementary and middle school instructional levels. The Call Me MISTER program marks an important step in addressing this need here in Aiken County."
Members of the cohort will attend Aiken Technical College, USC Aiken, or both. Upon their college graduation, members of the cohort will accept teaching positions in critical need areas within Aiken County Public Schools.
"We are thrilled to be able to provide a new and sustainable pathway for students to find their career passion and give back to their Aiken County community through the Call Me MISTER program," added Alford.
"We look forward to welcoming each student back in the future as new teacher in our school district."
The Call Me MISTER collaboration was announced during a regularly scheduled meeting of the Aiken County Board of Education on February 13, 2018. All parties met April 9, 2018, at Aiken Technical College to sign a letter of understanding formally launching the program.
The members of the first cohort are recent or former graduates of Aiken High School, Midland Valley High School and Silver Bluff High School, and include the following students:
• Logan Ford is a 2018 graduate of Aiken High School and a rising sophomore at USC Aiken.
• Jabarrik Corley is a 2019 graduate of Aiken High School and will attend ATC during the 2019-20 school year.
• Daylan Abney is a 2019 graduate of Aiken High School and will be attending ATC for the 2019-20 school year.
• Tavaris Williams is a 2019 graduate of Midland Valley High School and will be attending ATC during the 2019-20 school year.
• Stephan Rouse is a 2019 graduate of Silver Bluff High School and will be attending USC Aiken for the 2019-20 school year.
"We are excited to be part of this forward-looking partnership with the Aiken County Public School District and Aiken Technical College and look forward to seeing these members of the Call Me MISTER cohort on the USC Aiken campus soon," said Dr. Sandra Jordan, president of the University of South Carolina Aiken.
"Working together, Aiken Tech, the Aiken County school district, and USC Aiken will be successful in supporting and attracting a more diverse pool of educators and mentors into our classrooms."
"We are looking forward to welcoming these young men to the Aiken Technical College campus this fall and helping them on their path from student to educator," added Dr. Forest E. Mahan, president of Aiken Technical College.
"Our mission is to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for those in greater Aiken County and what better way to do that than programs such as Call Me MISTER. Through this program, ATC will be able to help students build a strong, educational foundation that will ultimately help impact the teacher shortage in South Carolina."
The cohort attended a Call Me MiSTER orientation with their parents and guardians at Clemson University's Madren Conference Center on June 22.