Enters Its Final Year
Project Site Support, a federally funded training program that has produced 10 percent of Baltimore City's current public school teachers, is welcoming what could be its final class of teachers-in-training back to school this fall. In an effort to extend the successful program, its creators at three Baltimore universities are searching for new funding to continue the program after its federal grant expires this year.
Designed by faculty at Johns Hopkins, Morgan State University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County to recruit, train, and retain a new generation of urban teachers, the program has reached the final two years of its five-year, $12.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Six-hundred forty of the city's teachers are from Project Site Support, which has an 85 percent teacher retention rate within the city.
Since its implementation in September 2000, Project Site Support has guided people from all walks of professional life down a new career path as teachers in city schools. This year's class of teaching recruits includes a lawyer, a researcher, an auto theft investigator, a financial advisor, a bank auditor and a TV producer. All are enrolled in courses at Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University or the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, to become teachers for the city's neediest schools.
In exchange for a three- to five-year commitment to teach in a city school, Project Site Support provides full scholarships and a teacher's salary, and turns undergraduates and career-changers into teachers in either one or two years, depending on the course of study:
Students with bachelor's degrees could enroll in a one-year school immersion internship while simultaneously earning a master's degree from Johns Hopkins or UMBC. Teacher candidates earned up to $8,000 for the training period in exchange for an additional three-year commitment to teach in city schools.
Students with bachelor's degrees could also choose to enroll in a master's degree at Johns Hopkins, Morgan State or UMBC during their first two years of teaching at a city school. Candidates earned a beginning teacher's salary in return for an additional three-year teaching commitment.
Seniors at Morgan State could elect a one-year teaching internship that provided hands-on training and guidance from seasoned educators. Candidates earned a stipend in return for a two-year commitment to teaching.
One-third of teachers hired in Baltimore this school year have graduated from Project Site Support, said Tom Husted, program coordinator and an instructor in Johns Hopkins' School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. While most urban school systems have trouble retaining teachers, Project Site Support is known for its high rate of retention: Sixty of the 73 people who signed on in the program's first year are currently in their fifth year of teaching in Baltimore City schools.
"Project Site Support has made a substantial contribution to reducing the shortage of highly qualified teachers in Baltimore City and we are looking to find additional funding to continue the program," said Shelley Ingram, director of the graduate division of education in the Johns Hopkins School of Professional Studies in Business and Education.
For more information, contact Amy Cowles at 410-516-7160 or visit www.sitesupport.org/index.cfm.
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