Thursday, March 8, 2001

PeachStar Partnership to Provide Teacher Training

An innovative distance-learning program will allow teachers in the state s 181st school district to study for add-on certification in special education without ever setting foot on a college campus. The school district, which comprises the residential schools of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), and PeachStar have partnered to create the course in an effort to meet the DJJ s growing demand for certified special education teachers.

The course is designed for teachers employed by the DJJ who currently hold teaching certificates in areas other than special education. A series of 10 self-paced course modules delivers instruction via the Internet, CD-ROM and video. Participants access and complete course assignments in their own work place or in their homes. The flexible format minimizes disruption to teachers work and personal lives, and makes it more convenient to advance professionally without compromising one s current work status.

The DJJ conceived the idea as an efficient way to meet critical staffing shortages. The DJJ, recognizing the value of a well-trained, supported work force, assumes the financial responsibility for the teacher s enrollment. The DJJ also provides computer workstations, resource libraries, instructors and mentors for those enrolled in the course. The GAPSC has granted the DJJ the authority to issue certification to those who satisfy all requirements.

PeachStar will produce the course modules with the assistance of Denzil Edge, Ph.D. and Cindy Mercer, Ph.D., nationally recognized experts in special education teacher training and distance education from the University of Louisville. Clayton College & State University will host the online content.

PeachStar and the DJJ hope this pioneering program will pave the way for similar educational opportunities for all of Georgia s teachers.