Creating Highly Qualified Teachers: Maximizing University Resources to Provide Professional Development in Rural Areas

Dawn L. Mollenkopf


The “highly qualified teacher” requirement of No Child Left Behind has put pressure on rural school districts to recruit and retain highly qualified regular and special education teachers. If necessary, they may utilize uncertified, rural teachers with provisional certification; however, these teachers may find completing the necessary certification difficult due to time, distance, and geographic barriers. The University of Nebraska at Kearney has been able to address this need by: (1) creating access to the university’s certification program, (2) providing professional supports, (3) tailoring assignments, projects, and field based practicum experiences and (4) building capacity for rural teachers who have completed certification to mentor others in their regions.


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