IUP Receives $578,038 as Part of PDE Grant to Retain More Teachers, School Leaders

Posted on 7/12/2018 3:53:57 PM

Indiana University of Pennsylvania will receive $578,038 as part of a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education designed to reverse the decline in new teacher graduation rates and to retain new teachers in the field.

The $2 million of grant funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Education was announced today by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.

IUP is one of three universities receiving the Implementation-Expansion Grant Awards. This funding will be used to develop and implement year-long residency programs for teachers, and to support new teachers in the first three years in the field.

This funding comes from the Pennsylvania’s Every Student Succeeds Act Consolidated State Plan.

“IUP is extremely proud to receive funding for this important initiative,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said. “Selection for this grant is another testament to IUP's expertise in teacher and principal education and training, and we look forward to partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to help qualified teachers and education leaders be even better prepared for success in the commonwealth's public schools."

The overarching goals of the project at IUP are threefold:

  • To inspire diverse individuals and individuals interested in hard-to-staff disciplines to choose teaching as a career and remain in the teaching profession;
  • To transform educator preparation at IUP by establishing focused hands-on, year-long experiences that prepare teacher candidates to embrace the challenges faced in urban and rural settings;
  • To lead candidates and mentors through the establishment and sustainment of year-long residencies that result in the highest quality of new teachers, and to retain effective teachers and mentors in order to positively impact students’ academic performance.

“This funding will be transformational,” Lara Luetkehans, dean of the College of Education and Communications, said. “Our proposal focused on both implementation and expansion of our current programs, and part of this funding will go directly to students to support them in participating in a year-long experience. The funds will also be used to work with the other teacher-educator programs to help them migrate to this model. 

“It’s the responsibly of both higher education and school districts to prepare high-quality teachers. While that work begins at the university, the efforts must continue in the educational settings. We are very pleased and fortunate to have strong partnerships with school districts that are committed to supporting teachers throughout their careers.

“Another focus of the initiative is the diversification of our teaching workforce to be more representative of the students that they serve."

Sue Rieg, dean’s associate for Educator Preparation and director of Professional Development School Partnerships, authored the grant, which was submitted in collaboration with two urban school districts (Greater Johnstown and Pittsburgh), five area school districts (Indiana, Homer-Center, Penns Manor, Freeport, and Leechburg), and the Armstrong-Indiana Intermediate Unit 28 (ARIN IU 28).

Several undergraduate educator preparation programs at IUP will be part of the project: Art Education (all levels), English grades 7–12, middle level grades 4 to 8 (all tracks), grades pre-kindergarten through grade 4, mathematics grades 7 to 12, music education (all levels), science grades 7 to 12, special education pre-kindergarten through grade 8, special education grades 7 to 12, and social studies education grades 7 to 12. Reading specialist (all levels), a graduate program, has also committed to participate.

Currently, four students in the Pittsburgh public schools have been selected to participate in this immersion program through this grant.

“We graduate between 150 to 200 teacher candidates each year, so this program could have a huge impact on the future, not only for our graduates, but for schools in our region and in the commonwealth,” Rieg said. “The opportunity to continue to mentor new teachers during the first three years of work is incredibly important to their development and to the likelihood that they remain in the profession.”