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9 March 2007
New Venture Links Teachers to the Web

By Steve Ivey
Star Staff Writer
Anniston Star

Vicki Trammell, left, teacher certification adviser at JSU, talks with student Lori Patten about course requirements for graduation and certification. Photo: Kevin Qualls/The Anniston Star

Reprinted here from the Anniston Star in its entirety.

The meandering corridors at Ramona Wood Hall boast the bright, block-letter décor of your average school classroom.

The Teacher Service Center in room 207 will be the last stop for many of Jacksonville State University’s students in the College of Education and Professional Studies in search of their first teaching job.

A new venture by the Alabama Department of Education aims to link them with more prospective employers and remedy a statewide teacher shortage.

The “Teach in Alabama” Web site creates the state’s first uniform application for any teacher opening in any Alabama school system.

Kelly Ryan, director of JSU’s Teacher Service Center, said the site will streamline the process for the 750 or so new teachers the college produces every year.

“Basically, after a student graduates, the job search involves contacting the individual systems and completing their application,” he said. “A lot of those are unique. There had been no standard until now.”

Ryan said JSU graduates normally apply to school systems in Calhoun, Etowah, DeKalb, Cherokee, Cleburne, Talladega and St. Clair counties. Demand is high for teachers of math, science, foreign language and special education.

A survey last year by the Alabama Education Association found more than 400 teacher vacancies statewide.

Debra Williams, coordinator for teacher placement and recruitment for the Alabama Department of Education, said the idea for an online application system had been around for about two years.

The Web site has received more than 250 applicants, and schools have posted 36 openings since it went live Feb. 16.

The site will cost about $63,000 per year to operate. Access to the site for schools and applicants is free.

As at other online job boards, applicants can fill out the eight-page application with resume and reference information and leave it on the site permanently for employers to read, or they can apply for specific openings.

“All our school systems have gone through training to post their openings,” Williams said. “I hope schools and university students will use it. I wish it was around when I graduated.”

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