Clemson, Tri-County Technical College, Upstate school districts announce accelerated higher education pathway for education majors

Leadership from the Clemson University College of Education, Tri-County Technical College, and
multiple Upstate school districts have formed a collaborative partnership that will open a seamless pathway from high school to a degree in education from Clemson University. The
schools involved are in Anderson One, Anderson Two, Anderson Three, Anderson Four,
Anderson Five, Oconee County, and Pickens County school districts.

Like a similar partnership struck between Clemson, Greenville Technical College, and Greenville
County Schools in April 2019, this partnership is also called “Expressway to Tiger Town.”
Clemson, Tri-County Technical College, and the participating school districts will work together
to identify, support, and prepare students for a career as an educator.

The purpose of the teacher pipeline partnership is to provide curriculum pathways for high
school students from participating districts to begin taking dual credit courses as early as the
10th grade. Students will then go on to Tri-County Technical College, where they could
potentially earn an associate degree by completing the first half of their education program,
before ultimately entering into an education bachelor’s degree program at Clemson University.

Students will spend one year at Tri-County Technical College and the remainder of the program
at Clemson, allowing them to receive a bachelor’s degree in just three years after high school
graduation. Students can choose to spend an additional year at Clemson to earn a master’s
degree through its teacher residency program and benefit from the additional knowledge,
training and pay that come with it.

According to George Petersen, founding dean of Clemson’s College of Education, the
partnership benefits students and participating districts while improving the immediate and
long-term outlook for the teaching profession in South Carolina.

“When all of the institutions on this ‘expressway’ collaborate on innovative curriculum and
instruction, our educators-in-training receive the best possible preparation in less time without
sacrificing quality in their programs,” Petersen said. “What districts and our state end up with
are best-in-class teachers and more of them, which will go far in addressing teacher shortages
and retention issues.”

The partnership begins within participating districts’ high schools, which have committed to
identify and advise student candidates as they complete required dual credit courses, and it will
also, assist them with applications to Tri-County Technical College. Cohorts in the program will
consist of at least 10 students across all districts, and all must have a minimum 2.75 GPA in
post-secondary coursework to transfer to Clemson University.

Jenni Creamer, assistant vice president of college transitions for Tri-County Technical College,
said that the College plays an integral role in this pathway by ensuring students receive quality
courses as dual enrollment students and during their first year out of high school. The College
also provides the preparation they need to continue as successful Clemson students during the
following semesters.

“Tri-County Technical College is proud to partner with all levels of education in the state to
provide this caliber of program, which is laser-focused on recruiting and preparing fantastic
educators,” Creamer said. “This is a win-win for everyone from the participating schools and
institutions to our students and the generations of students they will go on to educate.”

Upon arrival to Clemson, cohort students will be folded into Clemson coursework alongside
existing junior education majors. After completing their degree requirements at Clemson,
students will earn one of the seven bachelor’s degrees offered by the University.

Students will also be eligible for Clemson’s teacher residency program, which replaces student
teaching in a student’s final undergraduate semester with graduate education classes. The
following year is comprised of a year-round teacher residency with an experienced master
teacher who continuously gathers data about a resident’s progress to provide targeted support
and feedback. Students then earn a master’s degree in education upon completion of the year-
long residency and graduate education courses.

All students in the “Expressway to Tiger Town” cohort will be placed in their home district for
student teaching. The program is designed so that students are encouraged to apply for and
attain teaching positions in their home districts upon graduation.

For more information on the program’s curriculum and degree requirements, click here.