Polk State grads with education degrees can move onto Florida Southern master's program under new agreement


PSC students who receive a bachelor of science degree in either early childhood education or elementary education will be able to seamlessly enroll at Florida Southern College’s School of Education master’s degree program.

WINTER HAVEN — Polk State College students who receive a bachelor of science degree in either early childhood education or elementary education will be able to seamlessly enroll at Florida Southern College’s School of Education master’s degree program under an agreement recently worked out between the two institutions. 

The agreement signed in June is effective immediately. It enables PSC graduates to enroll in FSC’s Master of Education in Collaborative Teaching and Learning (M.Ed.) and the Master of Education in Educational Leadership (M.Ed.L) programs. 

The Collaborative Teaching and Learning degree program is designed to further the knowledge and skills of classroom teachers. The Educational Leadership degree program is designed for teachers who hope to explore roles in educational leadership or administration. 

In order to qualify, PSC graduates will need a 3.0 GPA, as well as either holding or being eligible for a Florida professional teaching certificate. 

“The signing of this agreement increases access and opportunity for our students to clearly defined pathways to success in their education careers,” said Donald Painter, interim vice president of student affairs with PSC. 

The agreement began as informal discussions beteween Painter and Tracey Tedder, dean of the School of Education at FSC on several matters. 

“And this topic came up,” said Painter. “From the beginning we knew we wanted to do this.” 

“After he and I discussed that possibility, it became a reality,” said Tedder. 

Training teachers to be their most effective is a high priority for both Painter and Tedder. 

“Our goals is to prepare teachers at the highest level from day one,” Tedder said. “Why not also provide the opportunity to be even more prepared?” 

That opportunity entails speeding up the process by eliminating several FSC admission requirements, such as the application fee and assorted documentation. It also allows for a free tuition voucher upon enrolling in the final required course in the master’s program.

“We are going to work with them one on one and support them to success throughout the program,” Tedder said of the students. 

As important as it is to encourage PSC graduates to enroll in the master’s degree programs at FSC, of equal value is the desire for those teachers to stay in the Polk County School District, said Painter. 

“We want them to stay, because when they stay, they grow their roots deeper into the community and we all benefit from that,” he said. 

Marianne Capoziello, who heads the Polk Education Association, the organization representing teachers, was not aware of the agreement but said it alone can not retain teachers. 

“We need to address substantial issues, such as pay and benefits, if we are going to keep teachers,” she said.

Although the program is now in effect, the first graduating class in the bachelor’s degree program at PSC will not be until May.

In anticipation, the college will conduct information events starting in the fall, said Painter. 

This arrangement is not the first time FSC and PSC have worked together, according to Tedder. 

“We’ve always enjoyed a collaborative relation,” said Tedder.

FSC also has arrangements with other higher education institutions, such as Georgia Tech, in which FSC students can attend classes there for a semester or year. 

PSC also has arrangements with other colleges and universities, said Painter. Those agreements allow for its graduates, mostly those who have earned associate degrees, to go on for bachelor’s degrees in much the same streamlined fashion as has been crafted between PSC and FSC. 

“We recently worked out an articulated agreement with the University of South Florida for our students who have graduated with an associate of arts degree,” Painter said.



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