SRU received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to prepare military veterans for teaching positions in school districts and subjects that are needed for certified teachers.
Monique Alexander, SRU assistant professor of elementary education and early childhood education, is serving as grant director and said that the grant was given on November 2017 and is worth over $272,000.
West Chester University will use the grant to offer faster training toward teaching certification for veterans with bachelor’s degrees.
Alexander also said that the program benefits the community because there are teacher shortages in high content areas such as AP Calculus or AP Physics.
“We are hoping essentially that we will acquire veterans who have completed their education background or who have relevant experience that equates to a degree in that area and they will be able to take those skills and get into the classroom,” Alexander said. “We are really in need to provide the community with highly qualified teachers in those upper-level areas.”
SRU will place veteran student teachers in one-year residencies in Pittsburgh Public Schools and West Chester will assist residencies in the Chester Upland School District.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, veterans will learn to teach subjects such as mathematics and the sciences in grades 7-12.
“We were all very excited when the secretary of education announced a few weeks ago that we were awarded the $300,000.” Keith Dils, dean of SRU’s college of education, said. Dils and West Chester University’s dean of the college of education David Bell authored the grant proposal and assembled the grant team.
Dils said the lack of teachers in Pennsylvania inspired him to get involved with the program.
“There is a teacher shortage in Pennsylvania. We have a terrific teacher education program and a great relationship with the Pittsburgh Public Schools,” Dils said. “I also knew West Chester would be an excellent University to collaborate with. Therefore, it just made sense to design a program and to submit the proposal to see if we might qualify for the funding.”
When the program launches in June, SRU and West Chester will take on a combined 25-40 veterans who will first take summer online courses taught by faculty at both institutions.