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MSSU Adds English Language Learners Masters Degree to Meet Deman - KOAM TV 7

MSSU Adds English Language Learners Masters Degree to Meet Demand

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     The population of southwest Missouri schools is becoming more and more diverse.  That includes a number of students whose first language isnt English.
     So Missouri Southern State University is adding a new degree to help teachers reach those students.
Keli Moore is an education major at MSSU.  But she's also taking extra hours now to be certified in English Language Learning.
Moore said,
I want to be able to relate to my students in every area and if I have this certification, I can also reach the students that would need to connect more than some others can."
Natalie Unterseher is another undergraduate taking certification hours. She said, "Teaching English language is a passion of mine. I tutored in high school and I kind of want to continue with that beyond college."


Now the university is combining the certification with other classes to create an English Language Learners Master's degree.
Maggie Beachner, with the MSSU Teacher Education Department said, "If they want to teach math, or if they want to teach elementary, we're trying to get the word out, get your masters in it. And you'll already have your graduate degree but be able to better serve those students because no matter what content you teach, you're going to   have English learners in your classroom most likely."


Southern is responding to a need at local school districts.
Traci Mitchell, the junior and senior high school principal in Wheaton, Missouri said, "We actually have a position open right now. We
re looking for an ESL (English as second language)  teacher  and were struggling, struggling to find someone with the certification.


Mitchell says districts also need teachers with a master's to teach dual credit classes.
And there's also a financial incentive for current teachers to go back to school.
Carthage Schools Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Kandy Frazier said,  "Most school districts pay more once you get your master
s degree and if youre gonna put the course work in it would be nice that it be graduate credits."
That fact may lead undergraduates like Natalie to switch from certification only to  the masters.
Unterseher said,
I think its more marketable to the schools if you have that masters degree under your belt."


The classes are all online making it convenient for those already working in the classroom.  Beachner said, "They're able to take the classes within their schedules. Its going to be flexible so we know thats going to be helpful."
     Online classes for the English Language Learners Master's program begin next summer.

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