Tuesday, July 16th, 2024

Future Educator Academy Continues to Inspire

The academy is part of a larger program hosted by Millersville University to aid students into successful careers in education.

Pennsylvania is facing a teacher shortage. The Future Educator Academy at Millersville University aims to help. The University will hold its fifth program July 21-27.   

The program, hosted by Dr. Miriam Witmer, associate professor of Educational Foundations at Millersville and Dr. Aileen Hower, assistant director of the academy, is open to all high school juniors and seniors in Pennsylvania who wish to pursue a career in education. During the week, students have the chance to experience college life while also learning the fundamentals of teaching and preparing for college.  

Witmer and Dr. Lara Willox, Dean of the College of Education, travel to schools around the state to talk about the program, hoping to recruit young individuals who have an interest in teaching. Teachers at the schools are asked to recommend students who would be good for the program, boosting their confidence in the application interviews. Students at high schools in the Millersville area can attend the week-long program for free, with their $750 tuition paid by the School District of Lancaster. Zoe Patterson, a senior at McCaskey High School, is coming back for her second year with the program, eager to learn more.  

“As college is approaching and I’m learning more and more about education, I’m excited to gain more knowledge, more experience and more awareness about the next stages of life,” says Patterson.  

The academy is part of a larger program hosted by Millersville University to aid students into successful careers in education. Other programs include the Color of Teaching Mentoring program and the Side-by-Side program, both active at MU. Middle school students start by joining the Color of Teaching program, then participate in the Side-by-Side seminars as underclassmen in high school, attend the Future Educator Academy as juniors and complete dual enrollment as seniors. The overall program has helped students make connections and land jobs in schools upon graduating college. “These folks are now school leaders. Lena Cordero just got her doctorate and she’s a principal and Jassinya Alvarado-Padilla is back at McCaskey as a central office administrator,” says Witmer, referencing former attendees who found success in their careers and benefited from the program.  

The program is exclusive to Millersville’s campus, but students from school districts all over the state travel to participate in this experience. These districts include the Harrisburg Academy, the School District of York City, the School District of Lancaster, the Pottstown School District, the Central Bucks School District and the Lower Dauphin School District.  

To simulate the experience of a real college class, Millersville faculty and staff, as well as other teachers and professors in Pennsylvania, participate in setting up lessons during the program’s week and hands-on field trips. The students also assist with a summer reading camp, co-teaching young readers.   

Students stay in the South Village residence halls for the week and eat at the Upper Deck, one of MU’s main dining halls. Current Millersville students assisting in the program act as resident assistants and plan small events in the residence halls. They also hold discussions based on the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.”  

When concluding the week, the students will be instructed to complete a “3-2-1 reflection,” allowing them to recall three things they learned from the experience, two practices they will continue, and one thing they will immediately implement. The students share their reflections at the end of the week, often bringing parents to tears. Along with this reflection, students will also receive awards for their achievements as well as a keepsake “challenge coin” that is inscribed with “Stars of the Future” and a motivational quote for them to take with them on their journey to becoming educators.   




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