KNOXVILLE — TEACH/Here, an innovative teacher residency initiative through which the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is helping to prepare highly skilled math and science teachers for hard-to-fill positions in Knox and Hamilton county schools, has received $2.8 million from the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program.
UT College of Education, Health and Human Sciences Dean Bob Rider, Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntrye, Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Jim Scales and Public Education Foundation Board Chair Jim Hall gathered in Knoxville on Friday to celebrate receiving the grant and pending completion of the agreement formalizing the TEACH/Here partnership.
Although the official paperwork is just now being completed, TEACH/Here has been up and running since July. The first group of 17 aspiring math and science teachers are currently working with mentor teachers in Knox and Hamilton County schools.
“The Noyce Scholarship program provides a level of funding that ensures TEACH/Here will continue to help prepare much-needed math and science teachers for our schools,” said Susan Benner, head of UT Knoxville’s Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education. “Other cities have had success with this urban residency model, and we’re confident it will help produce STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers for Knox and Hamilton county schools.”
The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program provides funds to universities to support scholarships, stipends and academic programs for undergraduate STEM majors and post-baccalaureate students holding STEM degrees who earn a teaching credential and commit to teaching in high-need K-12 school districts.
“An enhanced focus on STEM gives our students important foundational knowledge and access to incredibly rich future opportunities,” said Jim McIntyre, superintendent of Knox County Schools. “Developing highly effective teachers in this discipline will help ensure our students are equipped with 21st-century skills that will continue to be in high demand in the classroom and in the workforce.”
TEACH/Here enrolls recent college graduates or mid-career professionals who specialized in math- or science-related fields and have become interested in teaching. Similar to a medical residency program that provides “on-the-job training” for doctors, residents will work in a mentoring relationship with a master teacher for one year, where they will work side-by-side with the master teacher in the classroom four days per week. On the fifth day, they will take classes at UT Knoxville to earn both a master’s degree and a teaching certificate by the end of the year.
The resident teachers will log at least 1,700 volunteer hours in schools assisting their mentor teachers and will complete a service learning project by the end of their training. Resident teachers are not salaried but receive a small living stipend as part of their TEACH/Here service.
Now in its first year of operation, TEACH/Here has recently placed 17 resident teachers to work alongside highly successful and experienced mentor teachers in four schools. Seven residents are working in Central High School, Fulton High School and Gresham Middle School in Knoxville, and 10 residents are working in Tyner Academy and Tyner Middle Academy in Chattanooga.
Next fall, these residents will take classroom positions in Knox and Hamilton counties, where they have agreed to work for at least four more years in exchange for the cost of their training and education.
For more information on TEACH/Here, visit http://www.TeachHere.org.
Photo: Left to right, Cheri Dedmon, director, Teach/Here; Ava Warren, assistant superintendent, Hamilton County Department of Education; Donna Wright, assistant superintendent/curriculum and instruction, Knox County Schools; Jim Scales , superintendent, Hamilton County Department of Education; Jim McIntyre, superintendent, Knox County Schools; Jim Hall, board chair, Public Education Foundation; Susan Benner, department head, Theory and Practice in Teacher Education, UT Knoxville; Stu Elston, physics professor, UT Knoxville.
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Melissa Copelan, Knox County Schools (865-594-1905, email@example.com)