LLCC partners with Springfield D186 on Teacher Education Pipeline

Kylie McMillan“The world needs more teachers, and I believe I would fit this role perfectly,” says Springfield High School student Kylie McMillan. Southeast High School student Aden Woods wants to make an impact on many lives and acknowledges that the Illinois teacher shortage is another reason to enter the field.

Both are getting an early start on preparing for a career in education as part of the Teacher Education Pipeline, a partnership between LLCC and Springfield School District 186. Students interested in becoming teachers can take core education and related courses at LLCC while still attending high school. Classes are held Monday through Friday at the “zero hour” (7 a.m.) prior to the start of the high school day.

Aden Woods

“The Teacher Education Pipeline is helping me start early toward my goal by allowing me to take college education classes while I am still in high school,” says Woods. “I want to become a teacher because I know I will make a huge impact on many kids’ lives.”

McMillan says the Introduction to Teacher Education class has opened her eyes to new possibilities. “I have always wanted to be a high school teacher, specifically in mathematics. However, since August, I have worked at a preschool several times a week and have developed a love of working with the little kids in the classroom and becoming close with them. So, right now I am in the middle between early childhood and high school.”

Both say the COVID-19 pandemic and the stress it has added to teachers’ jobs have not affected their plans to teach. They believe the pandemic will be resolved by the time they enter the profession, with face-to-face learning once again the norm.

Patrick Moore, LLCC director of concurrent enrollment, says the Teacher Education Pipeline was designed to address the need for more K-12 educators in Illinois. “One of the key things that prompted the development of this program was the recognition of the teacher shortage throughout the state. There has also been a growing interest throughout LLCC’s district in our College Now programs, which grant high school students an opportunity to receive college instruction from LLCC faculty. The Teacher Education Pipeline program, which is a College Now model, is unique as it has a particular focus (the field of education).”

He says the goal of the program is for students to make substantial progress toward a degree in education before they finish high school. “Students can earn 26 college credit hours through this pipeline. The courses selected for the program also allow students to complete observation hours, which are needed in this field as well. Some high school districts may even offer student participants a ‘letter of intent,’ with the goal of hiring the students after they have completed their degree.”

There are currently eight District 186 high school students enrolled in the program. More growth is expected through partnerships with Springfield and other high schools in the LLCC district.

Woods plans to complete his associate degree at LLCC before transferring to UIS to earn a bachelor’s degree in education. McMillan is undecided where she will attend after high school but is exploring her options. Moore says LLCC works with Pipeline participants so they are prepared to attend the college or university of their choice once graduating from high school.

More information on the Teacher Education Pipeline is available by contacting Moore at or by calling 217-553-9919.