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Lake-Sumter State College to Introduce Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education

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Lake Sumter State College To Introduce Bachelor's Degree In Elementary Education

Lake-Sumter State College is set to launch a new Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Elementary Education, aimed at addressing the critical shortage of qualified teachers. The anticipated program received approval at the recent State Board of Education (SBOE) meeting, following a presentation by Lake-Sumter State College President, Dr. Heather Bigard.

The B.S. Elementary Education program is designed to provide aspiring teachers with the necessary resources and opportunities to succeed. The president expressed the urgency of creating highly qualified teachers who will educate future generations, particularly emphasizing the collaboration between the college, local school districts, and key stakeholders.

The College’s partnership with Lake County Schools was highlighted during the SBOE meeting. Superintendent Diane Kornegay explained how the program will contribute to the district’s ability to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers, ensuring students have access to quality education without having to leave the county.

With the program’s embedded paid practicums, a paid internship, and tuition reimbursement opportunities, students will gain real-world experience while studying at local schools in partnership with Lake and Sumter County School Districts.

The new degree program will strengthen career pathways, allowing students from existing high school teaching academies in both districts to pursue an associate degree before enrolling in the B.S. Elementary Education program. The two-year, 60-credit program requires completion of an associate in arts (A.A.) degree and any prerequisite courses.

The partnership with Lake-Sumter State College also presents an opportunity for current district staff, including paraprofessionals and substitute teachers, to earn a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification.

Recruitment efforts for the Fall 2024 enrollment will begin immediately, with the College aiming to enroll 120 students in the first year. As local school districts require more than 150 new elementary teachers annually, the capacity of the program will continue to expand to meet the demand.

Pending approval by SACSCOC, the College’s regional accreditation agency, the B.S. in Elementary Education program is on track to be introduced in August 2024.

Rachel Adams

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