Over 20 Future Hampton Teachers to Graduate from TNCC as Part of Unique Initiative by School District

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Nearly 30 aspiring teachers are graduating from Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) on May 14 as part of a program called First Steps, a creative “grow your own” initiative by Hampton City Schools (HCS) to address a shortage of elementary and special education teachers. The students, all full-time HCS employees, met requirements to earn Associate degrees in social science with specialization in education and transferred to Old Dominion University (ODU) for the program’s next phase.

Launched in summer 2008 by HCS in partnership with TNCC and ODU, First Steps is training 24 HCS employees, and in return, the future teachers must commit to teaching at least three years in Hampton. The diverse group comprised of administrative assistants, teachers’ assistants and a school bus driver completed their TNCC degrees in a series of tailored eight-week sessions totaling four courses each semester, said Dr. Joan Hecht, Lecturer and Director of Cooperative Teacher Education Programs for TNCC/ODU.