Midstate Student Support for Teaching Program

Midstate Student Support for Teaching (MSS) is a partnership designed to assist the Springfield and Decatur school systems in the recruitment of teachers by establishing an articulated teacher recruitment and preparation initiative beginning at the junior year of high school and continuing through licensure at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Partners in this program include the University of Illinois at Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College, Richland Community College and the two local school districts, Springfield School District 186 and Decatur School District 61.  Members of each institution participate on the Steering Committee that reviews and develops program policy.

There are three entry points for Project MSS. Students may enter during the junior or senior year of high school, the first two years of college or community college, or the junior year at UIS. Students apply to the program by submitting an application. Admission to the Program requires a minimum of a C+ or 2.75 grade point average (on a 4-point scale) and superior character determined by two letters of recommendation. In addition, a personal interview with the director may be required. Students entering at the UIS level must have passed the Basic Skills Test, Test of Academic Proficiency, or ACT + writing (with minimum score of 22) and been admitted into a program in the Department of Teacher Education. After licensure, teaching candidates are expected to return to the participating school district for a minimum of two years to serve as teachers.

Participants enrolled in MSS are provided a series of planned activities and incentives to increase motivation to teach in the local area and aptitude for teaching. The program consists of academic assistance, individual advising and counseling, monthly seminars and workshops, service learning, and potential financial support. Participants are involved in both professional and volunteer efforts supporting the education of children. Each must be involved in a minimum of ten hours of service learning each semester.

In the past several years, MSS has provided countless hours of service to the Springfield and Decatur communities. These future teachers have supported agencies such as the Lawrence Adult Center, the YMCA, and the Springfield Boys and Girls Club. Students at each level participate annually in the “Make a Difference” volunteer initiative at UIS.

Midstate Student Support is directed by Dr. Ronda Mitchell.  She can be reached at rmitche@uis.edu or by phone at 217-206-7008.