Lenoir County Public Schools is among a group of five public school systems in the state that have joined with the NC State College of Education and The Innovation Project (TIP) to pioneer the first phase of an effort to create a pipeline of teachers for rural and semi-rural areas in North Carolina.
The TIP Teaching Scholars Award Program established by The Innovation Project, a nonprofit collaborative of 24 public school districts, will debut in LCPS and the public school districts in Cabarrus, Johnston, Onslow and Wayne counties
“As a land grant institution, our mission is to prepare highly qualified teachers and educational leaders who work to ensure the educational success of all children and adolescents across North Carolina and beyond,” said Mary Ann Danowitz, dean of the NC State College of Education.
“This partnership with The Innovation Project enables us to create a pipeline of highly qualified pre-service teachers who will work in some of the districts facing the greatest teaching shortages. This program will also provide our pre-service teachers will further enrichment opportunities that will prepare them to work with K-12 students in districts who need them the most.”
“This pilot project is a great first step towards a partnership that can address the needs of school districts for quality teachers,” said Jim Merrill, chair of the board for TIP and superintendent of Wake County Schools. “TIP seeks these opportunities to learn what works – we all have a stake in the success of all districts across NC.”
Each of the five school districts will employ at least two teachers who will graduate from NC State in May 2019 and who will begin their first year of teaching in the fall of 2019. TIP Teaching Scholars will receive four installments of $2,500 each from the district where they’re employed at the end of each of the first four semesters they teach.
Preference will be given to those who plan to teach math, science or special education – fields that are facing the greatest teaching shortages, particularly in rural and semi-rural areas.
“We are so excited to participate in the TIP Scholars program,” said Frances Herring, associate superintendent of Lenoir County Public Schools. “We know that if we can just get them here, they would love Kinston and Lenoir County. It is such a special place and we want to share it with our scholars.”
Science teacher Kristen Davenport of E.B. Frink Middle School is excited about the prospects of fellow N.C. State alumni joining her at LCPS. They will come into the classroom ready to teach, she says. “I was so well prepared,” Davenport said of her experience with the College of Education. “I was ready. When I started, I didn’t have any doubts or fears.”
The program will begin accepting applications Oct. 15 from juniors at NC State who are on track to graduate with a teaching licensure in May 2019. District officials will conduct interviews with applicants during the spring and invite the pre-service teachers to enter into a letter of understanding to work for at least two years in the district and receive a financial award of up to $10,000.
In addition to the financial award, students accepted into the TIP Teaching Scholars Award Program will participate in enrichment, summer immersion and professional development opportunities during their senior year to strengthen their relationship with the district where they will work. Possible enrichment opportunities could include summer employment in the district where they will teach, completing their student teaching in the district where they will work, and receiving mentoring from experienced teachers in those districts.