Since 2015, the Billiken Teacher Corps (BTC) at Saint Louis University has placed new teachers in some of St. Louis’ hardest to staff Catholic schools. Beginning in 2021, the program will send teachers to St. Patrick Catholic School in Springfield. This is the first time the BTC has partnered with a school outside of the St. Louis metropolitan area.
“We had the opportunity to visit St. Patrick’s School over the summer,” said Gary Ritter, Ph.D., dean of SLU’s School of Education. “We knew right away that St. Pat’s could be a great fit for us.”
St. Patrick serves a community like many of the BTC partner schools and makes a difference in the lives of early childhood and elementary students. The BTC Springfield cohort will start with three or four fellows and grow the following year. They will spend the summers on SLU’s campus and take classes remotely during the school year.
The board of directors for St. Patrick voted unanimously this month to form the partnership with SLU.
“For decades St. Patrick’s has worked to provide a high-quality, low-tuition education to children in our community,” said Jan Williams, principal of St. Patrick. “This partnership will give us the teachers that we need to strengthen and grow our programs. Any young person who wants to teach in a school like St. Pat’s should apply for the Billiken Teacher Corps. We need you.”
The Billiken Teacher Corps recruits recent college graduates who want to teach in underserved communities. Teachers commit to the program for two years. BTC members serve as full-time teachers during the school year and as part-time graduate students, earning a master’s degree in teaching from SLU — with full tuition remission — at the end of the program. The BTC provides a stipend, lodging, faith formation, instructional coaching, a school mentor, and university supervisor to all its fellows.
“The BTC is part of a national movement to recruit and train the next generation of Catholic school teachers. The success of our program is measured by the ability of our teachers to be witnesses of faith and instructional leaders,” said Ronny O’Dwyer, SJ, assistant to the dean for Catholic School Initiatives. “We are looking for young people with the spiritual passion and intellectual depth that is needed for the renewal of Catholic education.”
To learn more about the BTC and program requirements, contact Angela Moret at . The priority application deadline is Jan. 25, 2021; applications will be rolling after that date.