Golden Apple, a non-profit committed to preparing, supporting and mentoring aspiring teachers, is now accepting applications for both its Accelerators and Scholars programs. Through the Accelerators and Scholars programs, Golden Apple seeks to fill crucial teaching positions across Illinois and provide a pathway for aspiring educators to enter the profession, a news release says.

The Accelerators application deadline has been extended to Jan. 31, 2023.

Illinois’ ongoing teacher shortage crisis, which was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has prevented many students from accessing the quality education they deserve, the release says. According to a recent report by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents, 88% of school districts statewide reported having a teacher shortage problem in 2021, up from 77% in 2020.

The effects of the teacher shortage crisis are felt most strongly in urban and rural areas, where schools are experiencing overcrowded classrooms, teacher burnout and a lack of educators in crucial areas such as STEM, special and bilingual education.

“The opening of our Accelerators and Scholars program applications is always an exciting and meaningful time at our organization,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple. “As we continue to feel the effects of Illinois’ teacher shortage, we are reminded of the enduring impact a good teacher has on their students’ lives. Now more than ever, we must uplift the teaching profession and support next generation educators so every student in Illinois may feel that impact.”

The Accelerators program is a 15-month teacher residency and licensure program that expedites the preparation of highly-effective teachers in areas-of-need throughout the state, particularly in southern, central and western Illinois. Geared toward career changers with a bachelors degree and current college students not already on a teaching path, Accelerators participants take courses at a partner university, receive instruction from established educators, and work with mentors who provide ongoing support throughout the school year.

Accelerators also receive a stipend of up to $25,000 to apply to coursework and living expenses.
The Scholars program focuses on teacher preparation and tuition assistance for high school seniors as well as freshman and sophomore college students in Illinois who have the determination and drive to teach. Scholars receive up to $23,000 in total financial assistance, extensive classroom teaching experience, academic and social-emotional support, job placement assistance and mentoring from Golden Apple’s award-winning teaching faculty.

Throughout the history of the program, 53% of Golden Apple Scholars have been Scholars of
color and 97% of Scholars find employment within 90 days of graduation. To learn more and apply for either the Accelerators or Scholars program, interested parties can visit
www.goldenapple.org/accelerators and www.goldenapple.org/scholar