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"It will open up a lot of opportunities for me": Residency program seeks to address teacher shortages

Residency program aims to address teacher shortage
Residency program looks to address teacher shortage 02:21

Clarksville, Tennessee — At Kenwood Middle School, an hour north of Nashville, Demetrius Winn tries to explain seismic waves to an eighth grade class. Two years ago, the 42-year-old father of four was spending his days mopping floors as a school custodian. 

Becoming a teacher "was something I wanted to do, just didn't know how it was going to happen," Winn told CBS News. 

Facing a growing teacher shortage, the Clarksville-Montgomery School System launched an innovative teacher residency program in 2018 — the first of its kind in the country. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are more than 300,000 fewer teachers compared with before the pandemic. 

Sean Impeartrice, the district's chief academic officer, told CBS News that without the program, they would have been short 150 teachers. The district is currently short 60 teachers. 

The residency program squeezes a four-year degree into three years. Night school is free, and participants co-teach during the day with a mentor, earning up to $27,000 per year. When participants graduate, their salary almost doubles. 

The program is funded through the district's regular budget, as well as state and federal grants. 

"It will open up a lot of opportunities for me," said Winn, who will graduate with a Bachelor's in education and minor in special education in 2023. "The future is bright. I know that once I become a full-time teacher, that the opportunities are endless."

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