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Innovative SLU Program Seeks School Staff to Become Rising Teachers


Members of Saint Louis University’s School of Education, partner school districts, and the education community gathered for two days in March for a kickoff event of the Rising Teachers Program. The event offered an opportunity to introduce Project Director Karen Collins-Adams, Ed.D. Collins-Adams is a former administrator in the Hazelwood School District. 

Karen Collins-Adams, Ed.D. headshot
Karen Collins-Adams, Ed.D.

Rising Teachers is an innovative path to address teacher shortages in underserved communities. Unlike traditional programs, the Rising Teachers Program offers an opportunity for school employees to pursue a SLU degree while working full time.

During the event, School of Education members provided guidance to ensure that the program addresses inclusivity in the classroom. Jeannine Butler, Ed.D., assistant professor of educational studies, and Corey Winchester of House of Winchester Learning Designs also led the group in a discussion on the importance of co-design and building values that will guide the work for preparing the Rising Teachers participants while still holding to the Saint Louis University mission. Butler and Winchester also discussed how best to support students.

Strong Support for Participants

The Rising Teachers Program is intended to support individuals who work in partner school districts as paraprofessionals, classroom aides, or long-term substitutes to build on their knowledge and experience of working in schools to become innovative, equity-minded teachers. Students have the support of instructional coaches who help translate course learning to the daily practices in schools and are also paired with a mentor. Courses are delivered online so that students integrate and apply what they are learning to their daily work. All education courses have been developed with full-time workers in mind. SLU will partner with St. Louis-area school districts, the East St. Louis School District, Kansas City area school districts, and several charter schools.

Scholarship and Admission

The program is sponsored by a SEED (Supporting Effective Educator Development) grant, which covers tuition for students for the entirety of the program. In addition, students will receive a stipend after successful completion of each fall and spring semester of coursework.

Applicants should hold an associate degree or be able to obtain an associate degree based on coursework already completed with a grade point average of 2.75 or higher. The program leads to a B.A. in Teaching. All students will enter with coursework for the elementary education certification area and can add coursework for the dual certification in special education in a later semester.

Applications for admission opened April 1. Classes for the first group of participants begin May 20, 2024. 

Applicants may apply here for admission to the program.

For more information about the Rising Teachers Program, contact Karen Collins-Adams at or call 314-977-3292.