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Saint Louis University’s Billiken Teacher Corps Adds New Pathway to Meet Growing Demand

by Jacob Born
Media Inquiries

Jacob Born
Communications Specialist

Reserved for members of the media.

Saint Louis University’s Billiken Teacher Corps, in an effort to meet the demand for Catholic school educators throughout St. Louis, will add a new pathway for the 2024-25 school year for participants to earn their Master of Arts in Teaching with Certification. The program, the Billiken Teacher Corps: MAT Magis, will join the Billiken Teacher Corps: Cura Community as an option to earn an MAT while also dedicating themselves to education and deepening their faith.

A group of SLU students hold a banner that reads "Teach Me. Billiken Teacher Corps" in front of a red brick building on SLU's campus.

Since the Billiken Teacher Corps began in 2015, more than 53 teachers have graduated from the program and gone to work in Catholic schools. With this new MAT Magis program, Billiken Teacher Corps will be able to reach even more schools and even more teachers. File photo. 

“Bringing this new avenue for teachers to get their masters under the Billiken Teacher Corps umbrella was an easy decision for us,” said Angela Moret, Ed.D., Billiken Teacher Corps Director. “If educators, those already working as teachers, paraprofessionals or classroom aides in Catholic schools, would like to take the next step in their career, we can support them through that. If career changers are passionate about teaching kids, a content area, and sharing their faith, we can help them bridge that transition to the classroom.” 

Billiken Teacher Corps: MAT Magis is a flexible two-year option for individuals who are already teaching in Catholic schools or those seeking those positions. 

MAT Magis is also open to part-time teachers and elementary classroom aides with bachelor’s degrees who would like to attain additional credentials. Applicants to the MAT Magis program earn an automatic tuition discount when employed by a Catholic school at the start of coursework and through the program. 

MAT Magis students can begin coursework in the summer, fall, or spring semesters. For this two-year program, classes are taken over the course of two summers and one evening each week during the school year. 

“The MAT Magis program opens up a lot of flexibility, for both our students and local schools,” Moret said. “The nature of the Billiken Teacher Corps is to serve those that are underserved, and all Catholic schools and all students deserve excellent teachers. MAT Magis brings a new pipeline of teachers into the field when there's a teacher shortage and we need high-quality teachers, and that’s the real benefit.”

The Billiken Teacher Corps: Cura Community, the original BTC model, is a program for recent college graduates that focuses on holistic support for participants as they begin their careers teaching in Jesuit or underserved Catholic schools. The program offers a unique opportunity for participants to live out the Jesuit mission as men and women for and with others, making a transformative impact in their communities. 

Cura Community members gain two years of full-time teaching experience while earning their Master of Arts in Teaching with full tuition remission. Monthly stipends and low-cost housing are provided as part of this fellowship. Participants live in a supportive, faith-based community with other program members and participate in regular, intentional opportunities for spiritual nourishment such as retreats and community events. Cura Community members collaborate with mentors and a University supervisor to receive real-time feedback and support around instructional strategies and classroom management.   

Unlike Cura Community, MAT Magis is not a residential program. Optional opportunities for spiritual development and community building are available to students in this pathway. 

Since 2015, the Billiken Teacher Corps at Saint Louis University has been educating teachers in the Catholic, Jesuit tradition. The BTC mission is to form the next generation of Catholic school educators through an academically excellent, spiritually-guided, service-learning community. The program has partnered with more than 20 Catholic schools in the St. Louis region. As of the Spring 2024 commencement, 53 teachers will have graduated from the program. 

“Billiken Teacher Corps is so aligned with SLU’s mission as a Jesuit institution and a Catholic, higher-ed institution,” Moret said. “It’s important for programs such as the Billiken Teacher Corps within the School of Education to engage in the community by forming new teachers that we know are of such high quality.”

Over the past year, requests from principals for BTC teachers have increased, and Moret said there has been an increase in inquiries from prospective students interested in the Master of Arts in Teaching degree. Creating the new program was an opportunity to include more educators. 

“While the Billiken Teacher Corps in its original model continues thriving, we are excited to serve more teachers and more schools,” Moret said. “We hope more individuals who want to make an impact in Catholic education will join us!”