University of Lynchburg, Central Virginia Community College, and five area school divisions are establishing a regional “Grow Your Own Teachers” program designed to motivate local students to become quality teachers serving local schools.
The presidents of LC and CVCC announced the program today along with administrators from the school divisions in the city of Lynchburg and Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell counties.
The program aims to recruit high school students who will become educators in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) or who come from under-represented groups designated independently by each school division.
Each school division will identify high school students with an interest in teaching and encourage them to participate in the program and return to teach in the school division after completing college. Each division may also create incentives to encourage the students to do so.
Students selected by the school divisions must apply and be admitted into both CVCC and LC to participate in the program. They will be assigned a faculty advisor from each institution. Participants will follow a “Guided Pathway,” a plan of study that will help students meet Virginia teacher licensure requirements and graduate from college within four years.
In the first two years of the Guided Pathway plan, students will study at CVCC, but they will come to LC for select education courses. After completing an associate of arts and sciences degree, the students will complete their professional education courses and their licensure courses at University of Lynchburg. Their field experiences and student teaching will occur in the students’ home school divisions under the supervision of master teachers.
Students will pay CVCC’s tuition rate during the first two years and will receive significant financial aid during the two years of study at LC. To successfully complete the program, students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and fulfill all licensure requirements set forth by the Virginia Department of Education.
“This program continues University of Lynchburg’s long, proud history of educating teachers, many of whom serve schools in Central Virginia,” said Dr. Kenneth R. Garren, president of University of Lynchburg. “The faculty in our School of Education, Leadership Studies, and Counseling developed this program to help local school divisions ensure they have well-trained, dedicated teachers who are committed to public education. We believe this will help our region’s schools for many years.”
“CVCC is thrilled to collaborate with University of Lynchburg and our K-12 partners on this unique Grow Your Own Teachers program,” said Dr. John Capps, president of CVCC. “STEM education is crucial to the economic vitality of our region, but we suffer from a severe shortage of teachers in these disciplines. This innovative initiative will address that need, creating a ‘win’ for students and school divisions alike.”
“Some of the very best teachers often have their roots deep in their community, and the Grow Your Own initiative will recruit many more of these teachers in Lynchburg City Schools,” said Dr. Scott Brabrand, superintendent of Lynchburg City Schools.
“In the last several years, it has become increasingly difficult to find quality teaching candidates in the STEM fields,” said Robert Arnold, assistant superintendent for Campbell County Schools. “This initiative better equips Campbell County to meet this need by developing our own pipeline of talented Campbell County students who will ultimately return to the school division to teach in these areas.
“This initiative also connects directly to the Campbell County school division mission, which is to provide each student with the opportunity to be successful in the careers he or she ultimately chooses,” Arnold added. “For our students who aspire to be educators, we can think of no better opportunity than this initiative.”
“Appomattox County Public Schools is excited about this opportunity for our students,” said Annette Bennett, director of curriculum and instruction for Appomattox County Public Schools. “Our faculty, administration, and counselors stand ready to assist our students as they strive to achieve their goal of becoming a teacher. Once they have completed this preparatory program, we look forward to inviting them back to Appomattox as leaders of the next generation of learners.”