PEP Announces Renewed Support from Duke Energy and Expansion of Greenville County Schools’ GATE Program
Alternative certification program addresses teacher shortage
Greenville, S.C. – Public Education Partners (PEP) is pleased to announce that for the second consecutive year, the Duke Energy Foundation has donated $100,000 to support the Greenville Alternative Teacher Education (GATE) program.
The GATE program, a collaboration between PEP and Greenville County Schools (GCS), is a district-based, alternative teacher certification program made to address the shortage of teachers in Greenville County. The Duke Energy Foundation’s substantial contribution and commitment in establishing Duke Energy GATE Fellowships for math and science teachers has allowed the program to continue to grow and reach more schools and students.
“Programs that foster a growing interest in the math and science fields help our communities continue to grow and produce skilled workers who bring new ideas and innovations to our lives,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president. “The work that Public Education Partners does to create a pipeline of new teaching talent that contributes to the success of students in Greenville County is something Duke Energy is proud to support.”
In August 2016, the first year of the GATE program, 10 new math and science teachers were hired to teach in nine Greenville County middle and high schools. This year saw 18 new math and science teachers. Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, the program could include up to 20 new teachers, and will include the subjects of French and Spanish.
“As has been well-documented, we are experiencing an unprecedented teacher shortage in South Carolina,” said Dr. Ansel Sanders, President and CEO of Public Education Partners. “GATE, which targets subject areas of greatest need in Greenville, makes the teaching profession more accessible to high-caliber individuals who want to teach, and thus represents a viable piece to addressing the teacher shortage. We’re thrilled to see the demand for this program, both from those interested in entering teaching through GATE and from Greenville County principals, continue to expand as we look to welcome a third GATE cohort this coming fall. We are indebted to and thankful for our partnership with Duke Energy, as Duke Energy’s support first helped establish GATE and is now setting up the program for expansion.”
As the GATE program approaches the end of its second year, not only has Duke Energy recognized the program’s importance, but district schools have too. Perhaps none so much as Woodmont High School, who will increase their number of GATE math and science teachers from two to four beginning in the 2018-19 school year.
According to Darryl Imperati, Principal of Woodmont High, “Both GATE teachers have had a positive impact on our school and have developed meaningful relationships with their students. They are high-quality individuals, well prepared for the rigors of the profession. Not only are they able to share their content knowledge, they are able to share real-world experiences.”
The GATE program provides a pathway into the teaching profession for people with subject-area bachelor’s degrees, but who lack formal training in education. Through intensive coaching and mentoring, ongoing evaluation, and multiple opportunities for participation in professional learning communities, GATE teachers are guided into their new role in the classroom and given the tools needed to thrive.
“I am very happy to be a part of the GATE program and blessed to have the support system that comes with being a member of the GATE cohort,” said Jacob Bartell, Environmental Studies Teacher at Woodmont High. “During the training in the summer, it was very difficult to picture what my new opportunity was going to look like. But now I’m glad I can say it’s difficult for me to imagine what it would be like if I wasn’t here teaching at Woodmont High School.”