The College of Education at historically Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis has entered into a partnership with the Confluence Academies in an effort to increase the number of students seeking careers as teachers. Confluence Academies is a non-profit public charter school system in the city of St. Louis sponsored by the University of Missouri that strives to provide the highest quality pre-collegiate education to students in pre-kindergarten through high school.
The initiative is the first of its kind in the state and enables high school students at Confluence Academies to earn college credits while they obtain a high school diploma. The program is designed for students who currently attend Confluence Academies and are interested in pursuing a college undergraduate degree in education. The hope is the school can ‘grow its own’ teachers by providing this opportunity.
Dwayne Smith, interim president at Harris-Stowe State University, stated that “there’s a crisis in teacher education across the nation with diversity. There are more diverse students in the education system now more than ever in K-12 and we need to do something to diversify the teachers.”
“I am excited about the promise that the Harris-Stowe State University and Confluence Academies partnership holds in producing more diverse educators to the St. Louis region and beyond. The “Grow Your Own” concept is an excellent investment that will pay great dividends,” Dr. Smith added.
Dr. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in educational administration from Truman State University. He earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri. Dr. Smith was appointed interim president in June 2019. Previously he was provost at the university.