As a school system, we embrace passing on our passion of education to the next generation of teachers. I’m proud of the many teacher preparation programs available through the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS). For example, we offer students a career path in the Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM), a statewide program designed to create a pipeline of teachers to fill critical shortage areas. TAM also supports HCPSS’ efforts to diversify our workforce with homegrown Howard County teachers.
This opportunity is not available in all Maryland counties. Howard County is one of 15 jurisdictions, among Maryland’s 22 school systems, that provide this teaching experience to students. TAM is offered at 10 Howard high schools where students have the opportunity to conduct formal observations, develop and deliver lesson plans in a K–12 setting, and participate in special events and activities.
Academy coursework, developed by Towson University, is based on the outcomes of the Maryland Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) degree and aligns with the National Council for the Accreditation for Teacher Education standards. Students also can earn college credit through a partnership with Howard Community College (HCC).
TAM students get a head start in preparing for a career in education, and they can have a jumpstart into acquiring the credentials required for the profession. TAM graduates can enter directly into the teaching field with an instructional assistant certification, making them hirable as a daycare employee or paraprofessional. With the certification, TAM graduates can earn a higher wage in child care positions or continue with their TAM field experience sites as many opt to pursue further education.
We’re so pleased that countless graduates have benefited from the academy as they follow their passion into educator roles. Academy students can earn up to six college credits and are eligible for program-related scholarships, representing a significant savings in college tuition. Many students move on to attend a Maryland college where the TAM college credits are recognized, including HCC, Towson University, Coppin State University, Hood College, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Salisbury University and Stevenson University. And often, students who start at HCC later transfer successfully to a four-year college.
HCPSS graduates approximately 60-70 students from TAM programs across the county each year. After 10 years of launching TAM, we’re thrilled to see academy alumni returning to teach in HCPSS.
Another way HCPSS encourages alumni to return for employment is through Teachers for Tomorrow (T4T), a partnership with McDaniel College that provides full scholarships to HCPSS students with high academic potential and limited financial resources. Additionally, all HCPSS high schools offer Educators Rising career and technical student organizations, where participating students have access to resources, networking, college field trips, scholarship opportunities and more.