SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Good news for the Springfield community and Wittenberg University has arrived in the form of a $198,820 congressionally directed grant from the United States Department of Education, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.
Under the direction of Lowell Monke, Wittenberg assistant professor of education, the grant will help the “Springfield Alliance for Minority Teacher Recruitment and Preparation Program,” beginning June 1, 2004 and continuing through May 2008. This four-year project will support the development of a new alliance for the recruitment and support of teachers from traditionally underserved populations in Springfield. Springfield City Schools students who are from low-income families or are racial or ethnic minorities or are first generation college students are eligible for the program. The project aligns Wittenberg with the Springfield City Schools and the Upward Bound Program housed on campus, while establishing partnerships with Clark State Community College and Central State University.
“The new partnership will operate a future teacher program drawing its students from underserved populations, allowing the partner institutions to share resources and personnel in ways that will aid the academic and social progress of the future teachers selected,” Monke said. “While these institutions have worked separately and occasionally in pairs on various student-support efforts, there has been no formal association to work on attracting minority students into teaching, so we’re excited to begin and very thankful for this grant money.”
The program will provide academic, social and financial support in each step of the educational process beginning in high school and extending through the induction process of the first year of teaching, often noted as the most critical year of a teaching career. In addition, professional development opportunities that support novice urban teachers will be assisted via this new minority teacher recruitment and preparation program.
Some of the goals of this partnership include the development of academic advising materials. Plans also call for the creation of mentoring networks, and training opportunities for mentors and advisers.
“It’s not lack of ability or grades or motivation that holds many of these young people back; it’s simply a lack of resources, mostly financial resources,” Monke said. “So while the grant helps us get the program off the ground, the alliance will be seeking other assistance necessary to develop the kind of robust financial aid package these future teachers will need.
“For several years Cornerstone Bank has generously supported our efforts to prepare the groundwork for this program,” Monke continued. “We are hoping that other institutions and individuals will recognize the value to the community of this ‘grow your own’ teacher education program. We would certainly appreciate the opportunity to speak with those who have an interest in seeing this program flourish.”
The Springfield Alliance for Minority Teacher Recruitment and Preparation Program will provide at least four scholarships for at least the next four years to high school seniors or existing Wittenberg students who meet the criteria developed by the partnership.
“These students will form a vanguard of teacher education candidates that will move into the teaching corps in our own community within the span of the grant,” Monke said.
A considerable amount of in-kind benefits, from office space for hired workers to special financial aid for future teachers, has been directed toward this alliance. Springfield City Schools will provide recruiting, counseling and mentoring support that does not draw on grant funds, and Upward Bound will provide counseling and academic tutoring for many future teachers.
“This program is a community effort in the best sense of that term,” Monke said. “The grant makes it possible for many quality young people growing up in Springfield to help their community by helping them become teachers in our schools.”
For more information about The Springfield Alliance for Minority Teacher Recruitment and Preparation Program, contact Monke at (937) 327-6422 or email@example.com.
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