The Privilege of PACE…

By: Shannon Shull

I have discovered that our great state of South Carolina has really done something right with an amazing program called the Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE). The program has been bringing incredible educators into the public school system since 1984, and is open to professionals who have graduated from college, worked within Teacher Quotethe workforce and have a passion for teaching. But it is NO easy task to get accepted into this prestigious program. Applicants have to meet very high standards and pass certification tests. Once an applicant has met all the requirements and been accepted into the program, an applicant can be hired by any public school in South Carolina. When hired by a school, the applicant signs a three year contract, continuing to train and work toward gaining their teacher certification while teaching in the classroom. It is an incredibly intense program – a program in which I can vouch for because I have the honor of being a part of it!

There are so many of us passionate educators out there in every field you could imagine, who all share a love for teaching but never received a degree in education. So this program is a fabulous way for highly qualified people to get paid to teach as they are getting their teacher certification.

I am incredibly honored to be a PACE teacher. When I attended Winthrop University, I started out as a theatre education major, but the performance major was more attractive to the_influence_of_a_good_teacher_me at the time. In terms of scheduling, I could not fit in the theatre and dance departments with the performance that I so desired AND all the education major requirements. So, at the time, I chose the theatre and dance performance focus. After working in the entertainment business in Los Angeles for ten years, teaching privately and doing arts integration in the public schools here in South Carolina, my passion for teaching led me to the PACE program.

I recently survived the first INTENSE pre-certification training at the end of July. Two full weeks – ten days, 8am to 5pm, every day full of priceless education training. We were taught everything an incredible, willing teacher needs to know in order to be the best teacher they can be. The training was so intense, it literally felt like a college education degree crammed into two weeks. Daily assessments, assignments and lesson plans kept many of us up into the wee hours of the night. One night I was up until 2am working and then back up at 5am to get back at the work before heading to the training. The program is very strict  – and rightly so, because it will certainly weed out anyone not suited for or willing to be the best teacher they can be. Participants were scored on all assessments and assignments. I was determined to do my absolute best and am very proud to say that I achieved an almost perfect score.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” — Albert Einstein

Teacher QuotesI take the role of teacher very seriously and consider it a great privilege to be in this amazing position to inspire and educate our young people. This year will mark my first full time teaching gig at a public school – I am honored to say that I am teaching drama at Chapin Middle School this year. I could not be more thrilled! And I have the SC PACE Program to thank.

For more information about PACE, check out their website: http://ed.sc.gov/agency/se/Educator-Services/Alt-Licensure/pace/.

Though the program is demanding and intense, South Carolina is doing its young students a great service by giving professionals with a passion for teaching the opportunity to educate within our public schools.

“Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” –William Butler Yeats

Teachers are true gems of society and bare a great responsibility. As I begin my journey into the world of teaching in the public schools, my respect for this priceless profession is boundless!

Vote for Dr. Epps in Dancing with the Stars, Lexington

It takes two to tango, and Dr. Epps is cutting a rug for Lexington Medical Center in the Dancing with the Stars, Lexington competition on April 22, at the Koger Center.

Dr. Amy Epps, a cardiologist with Lexington Cardiology and a Lexington school graduate, is competing against 11 local celebrities in the event sponsored by Lexington School District 1 Education Foundation.

Each vote raises funds to support district programs and initiatives that are outside the scope of the district’s Annual Fund Budget, such as outfitting STEM Labs at Lexington 1 schools, equipping media centers with up-to-date technology and supporting professional development for teachers.

Dr. Epps has been training with professional dancers from Columbia’s Ballroom Company since early February, check out the video below:

Vote for Dr. Epps today!
www.dancingwiththestarslexington.com/vote.

Back to School

By: Katie Austin

It’s that time of year when summer is coming to a close, when daily routines consist of packing lunches, participating in after-school activities, and completing homework assignments.  Wasn’t it just yesterday that summer began? Where did the time go? Time flies when you are having fun, and it goes even faster as you get older.

I bet that when I mentioned school you thought I was talking about my son, Brandon, who is starting his senior year in high school. I will definitely take the opportunity to talk about him because I am so proud of all that he is accomplishing as he gets ready for his next chapter.  Actually, the student I am talking about was me! Yep – I am back in college as a part-time student at the University of South Carolina.  I can’t believe that I am once again a student who has homework assignments and tests.  I thought it was time to tackle another bucket list item – finishing my Computer Information Systems (CIS) degree.

Why go back to school? I want to finish what I started so many years ago.  I figure that if I can beat cancer, I can certainly finish my degree!  However, you don’t need cancer to motivate yourself to accomplish what is on your bucket list.  Pick one thing, make it a priority, tell yourself that you are important and that you can reach any goal you set as long as you continue to believe in yourself. Since I have a job, I can’t go back to school full-time, so I plan to take 2 or 3 classes a semester. I’ll keep chipping away at my dream of one day walking down the isle with my degree in hand. I will get there one day, and I will take it one step at a time until I reach the finish line.

This semester, I am taking 3 classes. I start my day at 5:00am, go to work, attend classes in the evenings, and get home between 8 and 9pm. One of my classes is Business Writing, which is every other Saturday starting at 9:00am and ending at 1:30pm.  I am sure many of you are thinking “Why take a class on Saturday?” For one, it is only every other Saturday and, most importantly, there are only 9 class days needed to complete the course. Despite homework, projects and the occasional quiz/test, it has been the easiest of my classes.

Are any of you back in school or taking classes outside of work?  Or are you tackling a different item from your bucket list?  Please share your story and your tips to stay motivated!

Wishing everyone a blessed day and hope to hear from you soon 🙂

School Is In … Almost!

By: Roshanda Pratt

A show of hands, how many parents are ready for school to start?  I apologize to my teacher friends who have heard all summer from weary parents.  I love my children. I love them when they are in school too!  The start of a new school year is always exciting.  Don’t you think so? This year my oldest will be in first grade.  Her siblings will be in 4th grade and 2k.  In anticipation for the upcoming year, here are my top ten reasons why school is cool! My second grade teacher would be proud of that line.

10. Who doesn’t like going shopping in a crowd fighting people for school supplies? (Insert sarcasm)

9. Tax Free Weekend. ’nuff said.

8. The “new” smell of pencils and backpacks.

7. Labeling school supplies. It is like tagging presents at Christmas.

6. Daytime activities like grown up shows, books and the alike.

5. Lunch dates with the husband… again without the children.

4. Mid afternoon naps. Ahh, with no interruptions!

3. Back to school commercials, especially those by Target.

2. Making my famous Peanut butter & Jelly sandwiches (insider)

1. And the number one reason why I love the start of a new school year…

The excitement of my children learning something new – and then “teaching” it to me.

What would you add to the list?  I hope you enjoy the final days of summer.  And I pray your children have a great start to the new school year!

Ro