Mount receives five-year grant to prep underrepresented teacher candidates

December 01, 2016

Mount Saint Mary College has officially been named a Teacher Opportunity Corps (TOC) higher education institution and the college’s Teach the Change initiative has been awarded a five-year New York State TOC grant.

Teach the Change is a comprehensive initiative of the college’s Division of Education, coordinated in conjunction with the Center for Adolescent Research and Development (CARD), under the leadership of Frances Spielhagen, Mount education professor.

The initiative has three major focus areas:

  • Continuing to strengthen the teaching profession in the programs provided by the college.
  • Creating a pipeline of teacher candidates from area high schools, especially first- generation college students and those who may be underrepresented in the teaching profession.
  • Enhancing the current teaching force by providing teacher leadership training for area educators.

Over the next five years, the Mount’s Teach the Change initiative will receive funding of $39,000 per year to recruit, nurture, and mentor minority and/or economically disadvantaged candidates and prepare them to teach in at-risk school districts in New York State. The college will match 15 percent of this amount, using a $10,000 TD Charitable Trust grant that was awarded earlier this year. Teach the Change will seek additional funding to support the TOC grant as time goes on.

With TOC support, the college will sponsor six students each year who will be official TOC candidates. Starting 2016-2017, two Mount juniors will be involved in active internships; two sophomores will engage in specific course work and pre-internship seminars; and two freshmen will engage in introductory experiences. Each year, the candidates will move up the ladder, culminating in a student teaching experience in their senior year. Graduating seniors will be replaced with freshmen to keep the cycle going.

The purpose of Teacher Opportunity Corps is to increase the participation rate of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers.

“This is a prestigious honor,” said Spielhagen. “Very few colleges have been designated Teacher Opportunity Corps institutions. More importantly, it supports our commitment to building a strong and diverse teaching force."

Out of the 100 schools of education in the state, approximately 12 colleges have been so designated. Other colleges include Teachers College, Manhattan, Hunter, Medgar Evers, CUNY, SUNY Oswego and SUNY Cortland, Nazareth, and Brooklyn College.