A $50,000 grant from the Institute of Emerging Issues and the State Employees Credit Union (SECU) will enable University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Watson College of Education to tackle some of the root causes of teacher attrition.
The project, one of four that recently won funding, will now target teachers early in their careers. SECU is providing the grant money.
“We wanted to create a practical program that addresses how to help the teacher retention rate in North Carolina, that begins at a local level and has the potential to grow far beyond that throughout the state, and even nationwide,” Ken Teitelbaum, dean of the college, said in a release announcing the grant last week. “Receiving this grant echoes that Watson is moving in the right direction and that this idea is one the educational community, and community-at-large really believe in.”
The Watson College team first learned about this grant opportunity when Alison Hawkins from the Institute for Emerging Issues presented at UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) late last year, said Jim Roberts, CIE director.
The college’s grant proposal, “Beginning Teaching Matters,” was among a group of seven finalists selected by the institute. All seven then were subjected to a public vote, with that vote choosing the four winning projects.
Beginning Teaching Matters seeks to address issues of teacher retention by immersing beginning teachers in the culture of their local community and providing them with a community-based network of support, according to a news release from UNCW.
Through Beginning Teaching Matters, teachers with up to three years of experience can meet monthly and will be guided by a professional learning communities model. They will explore issues that affect teacher retention and will have opportunities to meet and develop relationships with their local business community and identify resources within the community to help them be successful teachers, officials said.
The goal, according to university officials, is to launch the program on a pilot basis in the fall of 2014, in partnership with an area public school system.