Golden Apple program participants make a material difference in the ongoing teacher shortage crisis
Golden Apple, a non-profit dedicated to preparing, supporting and mentoring aspiring teachers, has extended the deadline to apply to its Accelerators program to Jan. 31, 2023. Through the Accelerators program, Golden Apple aims to meet the teacher shortage crisis head on throughout southern, central and western Illinois by providing a path to teaching for non-educators with bachelor’s degrees looking to make a difference in classrooms right in their communities. Aspiring educators are encouraged to apply at goldenapple.org/accelerators.
Illinois’ ongoing teacher shortage, a crisis further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has prevented many students from accessing the quality education they deserve. According to a report by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents, 88 percent of school districts statewide reported having a teacher shortage problem in 2021, up from 77 percent in 2020. The effects of the teacher shortage crisis are felt most strongly in urban and rural areas, where schools are experiencing overcrowded classrooms, teacher burnout and a lack of educators in crucial areas such as STEM, special and bilingual education.
“Each year, when applications for our Accelerators program are open, there is an immense feeling of excitement and hope,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple. “The importance of having enthusiastic, dedicated and well-prepared teachers leading classrooms in their own communities cannot be overstated. We are eager to welcome the next cohort of Golden Apple Accelerators into our program and ultimately into classrooms of need, and we invite everyone with a desire to make a difference through teaching to apply for the program.”
The Accelerators program is a 15-month teacher residency and licensure program that expedites the preparation of highly-effective teachers in areas-of-need throughout the state. Geared toward career changers with a bachelor’s degree, Accelerators participants take courses at a partner university, receive instruction from established educators, and work with mentors who provide ongoing support throughout the school year. Accelerators also receive a value of up to $25,000 for education, the majority of which will be paid directly to the institution of higher education.
Golden Apple is also currently accepting applications for its Scholars program, which focuses on teacher preparation and tuition assistance for high school seniors as well as freshman and sophomore college students in Illinois who have the determination and drive to teach. Scholars receive up to $23,000 in total financial assistance, extensive classroom teaching experience, academic and social-emotional support, job placement assistance and mentoring from Golden Apple’s award-winning teaching faculty. Throughout the history of the program, 53 percent of Golden Apple Scholars have been Scholars of color and 97 percent of Scholars find employment within 90 days of graduation. Applications to the Scholars program will be accepted through April 1, 2023.
To learn more and apply for either the Accelerators or Scholars program, interested parties can visit goldenapple.org/accelerators and goldenapple.org/scholars.