A major goal of the Teacher Academy (TAM) is to prepare high school students for further education and careers in the education profession, particularly as middle and high school teachers in critical shortage areas. Therefore, P-12 public school–higher education partnerships are crucial to TAM’s effectiveness. Such a partnership will be of great benefit to high school students because they can glimpse college life and become aware of the academic expectations that they must meet as college students. Through the TAM program, students may even have the opportunity to spend time on a college campus and interact with college students and professors.
College/university faculty members also benefit from public school–higher education partnerships, especially when they are able to spend quality time in real classrooms with real students. Such exposure and experiences promote reciprocal teaching and learning since spending time in different environments promotes understanding, shared decision making, collaboration and professional growth.
With rare exception, a formal partnership with an institution of higher education (IHE) is required for all CTE programs. The local school system enters in a formal partnership with an IHE by executing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the school system and the IHE. The MOU should clearly articulate the benefits that will be bestowed on students who complete the TAM program during their post-secondary education experience.
The Towson University (TU)–TAM MOU details the undergraduate credits that students can be awarded upon successful completion of the high school program. It identifies the college level course for which students can earn credit, the general education category that the course fulfills and the stipulations that determine whether the credits are awarded. The TAM Program Completion Verification Form specifies what successful completion of the TAM program of study entails and is submitted to TU for all TAM program completers who apply to and are accepted by the University.
A bonus benefit that accompanies the TU–TAM MOU is a scholarship for TAM program completers who are admitted to TU, enrolled in the courses, and have identified education as their major. These students are eligible to have the scholarship renewed for up to four years, as long as they remain education majors. Structuring similar benefits with the local community college or other IHE and the local school system’s MOU keeps consistency for TAM students. The more clearly the MOU is defined, the easier it will be to implement.