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News

Carthage receives $150,000 grant for Urban Teacher Preparation Program

April 01, 2021

Urban Teaching Program 2018Carthage received a $150,000 grant from the William & Sheila Konar Foundation to grow its Urban Teacher Prep Program (UTPP) — a program designed to expand the pool of educators who are equipped and committed to teaching in urban elementary schools.

Carthage’s Urban Teacher Preparation Program is the most immersive program of its kind in Wisconsin and aims to identify, instruct, inspire, and increase the number of resilient, highly effective teachers committed to teaching in high-need, urban school settings.

“The Urban Teacher Preparation Program provides teacher candidates with authentic experiences in urban schools and classroom settings,” says Program Director Professor Michele Hancock. “This allows them to develop meaningful relationships with mentor teachers and the school community over an extended period of time, thereby fostering confidence in our teacher candidates that they can and will become effective urban educators.”

The grant provides funding to support UTPP student recruitment, research data collection, programmatic activities, professional development stipends for expert urban educators, and community engagement.

“Carthage’s distinctive Urban Teacher Preparation Program sets itself apart from other education programs by immersing students in the unique and complex work of an experienced urban educator for the entire duration of their undergraduate study,” says Marilynn Patterson-Grant, Pre-K to 12 program director at the William & Sheila Konar Foundation. “Coupled with viable partnerships with urban schools and districts, UTPP is closing the silo gap to develop effective future teachers secure in successfully working in marginalized communities to nurture equitable school practices and policies.”

Urban Teaching Program 2018The goal of Carthage’s program aligns with the William & Sheila Konar Foundation’s mission to improve lives by promoting educational opportunities, access to health care, and a more tolerant civil society. With large numbers of low-income families, urban districts typically struggle for resources, often causing students to lag behind their peers. The UTPP prepares teacher candidates to address these challenges through student teaching and courses that specifically address the learning challenges that impact K-12 students, helping them overcome the challenges of urban education.

Richard Wytonick, principal of Knapp Elementary School of Racine Unified School District, says he believes so strongly in Carthage’s program that he promises to automatically grant an interview to any graduate who applies for an open position at a school he is leading.

“The Carthage Urban Teacher Preparation Program is what I have been waiting for to stop the constant turnover that we deal with in urban education. Students in this program are truly immersed in the experience, and I know that when they graduate, they will be ready with the necessary skills to be successful in what can be a very difficult environment.

Mr. Wytonick adds, “As an urban educator for my entire career, I have often wondered why colleges weren’t doing a better job of preparing students to teach in urban education.”

With funding from the William & Sheila Konar Foundation, the Carthage Urban Teacher Preparation program will continue to expand programming and research over the course of the next three years. UTPP expansion will include a variety of activities focused on increasing the number of teacher candidates and expert urban educators; expanding and strengthening external partnerships nationally; science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) certification for teacher candidates; and launching the Institute of Urban Education — Urban by Choice: Pipeline to College summer college preparation program for middle and high school students who want to pursue teaching careers.

In addition to the grant, Carthage will receive an additional $5,000 from the Konar Foundation to fund an emergency aid scholarship for seniors in the education program who experience hardship during their student teaching semester.