FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University School of Education has established a program to prepare teachers of middle school students. The program will begin in the fall of this year.
The program was created to meet recent state mandates that teachers for middle grades (6-8) receive special preparation. Formerly, teachers with either elementary or secondary certificates were qualified to teach middle grades.
The new Middle Level Education (MLE) program at FMU will combine increased academic rigor with the knowledge, skills and dispositions required to work effectively with early adolescents.
The MLE program will have more subject content-matter emphasis than what is required for elementary teachers, but unlike secondary teachers who must major in a single discipline, teachers for middle level students must specialize in two teaching areas.
“A program in middle level education is a natural addition to the initial certification programs already at FMU,” said Ron Faulkenberry, dean of the FMU School of Education. “Currently, the university has strong initial certification programs in early childhood education, elementary education, English (secondary), social studies (secondary), mathematics (secondary) and learning disabilities (through its Master of Arts in Teaching program). A majority of our graduates stay right here in the Pee Dee and we are very proud of the work they are doing.”
The demand for certified teachers for middle level classrooms in the region will continue to grow as existing teachers retire. FMU currently serves approximately 35 middle schools in the Pee Dee region. These schools come from the 19 districts comprising the Pee Dee Education Center consortium.
“Regardless of what kind of schools they find themselves in, children in the middle grades have unique educational needs, and as such require special teachers who are can meet their academic, social and personal needs,” stated Jeff Lee, associate dean of the FMU School of Education. “Teachers of middle-level children must have the child-centered focus of an elementary teacher combined with the high level of specific content competence seen in high school teachers. You cannot teach these students like little high school students and certainly you cannot treat them like children. Sadly, far too many children are lost to the educational system during this transitional stage of their lives. The MLE program will help reverse that trend.”
#183 / 5-1-06