Best Practices Article: Teacher Recruitment for an Alternate Route Program in a Rural Area: Methods and Lessons

Nicole C. Miller, Anastasia D. Elder, Dekota A. Cheatham, Dana Seymour, Devon Brenner

Abstract


Teacher shortages in the United States have resulted in the development of alternate route teaching programs to better provide teachers, especially in difficult to staff schools such as those in rural communities. In order to address rural teacher shortages, the Mississippi State University College of Education implemented a fully online, alternate route, teacher preparation program to recruit, prepare, and retain teachers for rural middle level (i.e., middle school) classrooms in the state. The rural nature of the state meant that extensive recruiting efforts were required in order to reach qualified participants. This article provides a description of this work, and provides a reflection on the various recruitment efforts of the program in an effort to inform others. Specifically, three categories of strategies are discussed: (a) fostering and maintaining relationships, (b) targeting an appropriate audience; and (c) using various communication methods. While each of these methods provided various benefits, the relative timing and significance varied depending on the stage of program development or implementation.

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