Department of Education awards $532,000 grant for future teacher scholarships

November 16 2007

Future educators who want to teach in high need school districts can receive help paying for college thanks to a $532,000 grant to Indiana State University from the U.S. Department of Education.

“As a nation, we recognize the need to do a better job placing high quality teachers in all schools and also to stay competitive with the rest of the world in key disciplinary arenas such as the sciences where we have not been doing so well of late,” said Joshua Powers, associate professor in the College of Education and chair of the department of educational leadership, administration and foundations.

“Furthermore, a particular need exists for more teachers of color. We know from the research that students benefit from mentors and role models with whom they can identify. Students of color invariably have precious few and what could be more important than having mentors or role models as teachers, given how many hours per day students spend in school,” Powers said.

The Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant will allow ISU to award 39 scholarships during the next four years to any student who wants to teach in high-needs schools. High-needs schools are those where 40 percent or more of the students are on free and reduced lunches, which could be in an urban or rural environment.

“Urban education is more than a job, it’s a calling,” said Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White.

Although urban school districts serve an ever-increasingly diverse student population, the majority of classroom teachers are white and female, according to IPS officials. The collaboration between ISU, Indianapolis Public Schools and Ivy Tech through the Project Pre Too grant will help recruit and prepare future kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers from under-represented groups who want to teach in an urban or other high-needs setting, according to ISU officials.

“We want to find the best people,” said Jay Gatrell, College of Arts and Sciences associate dean for budget and research, and associate professor of geography. “We have a lot of flexibility.”

The grant can fund two years of scholarships at $6,000 per year for up to 39 students. In return, the students make a commitment to teach at the high-needs schools or in high-needs areas for each year of receiving the grant. Gatrell said ISU plans to recruit internally and externally to fill the scholarships, which are also open for Transition to Teaching program students.

“It’s really fun to give students’ scholarships,” Gatrell said.

Douglass Ann Kinkade, director of the IPS Center for Professional Growth, called the scholarship program a win-win situation.

“Pre-service teachers will get an opportunity to be placed in our schools to complete their student teaching and if they choose, to continue their careers with us,” she said.

The application deadline is March 1 for the fall 2008 semester. Gatrell said ISU would award between eight and 10 scholarships a year. For information on applying, contact: Lisa Cutter, assistant professor, at (812) 237-2587 or lcutter@isugw.indstate.edu; Powers at (812) 237-2900 or at jopowers@indstate.edu; Gatrell at jgatrell@indstate.edu or at (812) 237-2785.

Contact: Jay Gatrell, College of Arts and Sciences associate dean for budget and research, and associate professor of geography, at (812) 237-2785 or at jgatrell@indstate.edu

Contact: Joshua Powers, associate professor and chair of the department of Educational Leadership, Administration and Foundations, at (812) 237-2900 or at jopowers@indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or jsicking@isugw.indstate.edu

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Future educators who want to teach in high need school districts can receive help paying for college thanks to a $532,000 grant to Indiana State University from the U.S. Department of Education.

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