COLUMBIA, South Carolina (WSPA) – The Center for Educator, Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) announced a new partnership Thursday that could help get more teachers in the classroom this fall.

CERRA is partnering with Study.com, an online learning platform, to launch Keys to the Classroom in South Carolina.

This is an education initiative aimed at helping aspiring educators who are preparing for certification tests to earn their teaching credential.

Through this partnership, Study.com will donate $360,000 (equating to 500 licenses) to aspiring South Carolina teachers to help them prepare and pass their teacher certification tests.

The 500 teacher test prep licenses will be distributed to Teacher Cadets as well as targeted populations that, historically, face obstacles passing the PRAXIS exam, according to a release.

“Made possible by Study.com’s commitment to social impact and its philanthropic efforts via their Pledge 1%, Keys to the Classroom aims to ensure prospective educators of all backgrounds and ethnicities can access the teaching profession,” said Marcella Wine-Snyder of CERRA. “This first-of-its-kind partnership with Study.com will also allow CERRA the opportunity to continue to advance its recruitment efforts across our state, provide opportunities and access that mitigate educational disparities, and accelerate the certification process for many prospective teachers.”

According to CERRA’s 2021 Annual Educator Supply and Demand Report, districts in South Carolina indicated that at the start of the 21-22 school year, at least 1,063 teaching/service positions were still vacant in SC public schools.

A mid-year update from CERRA showed the number of vacancies reported by school districts increased in February.

Study.com Director of Communications Brooke Gabbert said one barrier for aspiring teachers is passing their teacher certification tests, such as the PRAXIS. Gabbert said, according to a 2019 report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, half of the teachers fail their first certification exam and a quarter never pass.

Gabbert said 92% of teachers who used their prep resources pass the test on the first try. 

CERRA’s teacher pipeline development network targets South Carolina’s pre-collegiate (ProTeam and Teacher Cadet) and pre-service (Teaching Fellows) students.

At the onset of the program, Study.com and CERRA will focus on Teacher Cadets and prioritized populations and will work with the following organizations and institutions to distribute the test prep licenses: South Carolina Department of Education; South Carolina Teacher Loan Program; HBCUs, MSIs, and other teacher preparation institutions across the state; local school districts; and education associations.

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