Johnston County school leaders are hoping a new program will bring its students back to the district to teach. Participants will be able to complete an associate degree in teaching while still in high school. And an added perk: they won't have to pay for it.
After completing the associate degree, students will be admitted to N.C. State University to complete a bachelor's degree. And they'll be offered opportunities for paid summer internships and student teaching with Johnston County Public Schools.
Suzanne Lujan, executive director of career and college readiness for Johnston County Public Schools, said the idea is that the program will draw students back to the district after college graduation.
“The hope is that they would come back and serve in our low-wealth schools where they would potentially get some loan forgiveness if they had to take out some loans to finish that last two years,” she said.
Officials plan to recruit participants from across the district -- including students who have not yet considered a career in teaching.
The Johnston County program comes as enrollment is down at teacher prep programs across the state. District officials hope to have the new pipeline up and running by the fall of 2019.