Scholarship offers experience for future teachers of underserved areas
There are teaching students, and then there are Rodel Promising Student Teachers. The former is a noble enough endeavor, but the latter brings education to the next level for undergraduate students in Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.
Not only do students receive hands-on training with specially-selected Rodel Exemplary Teachers in high-needs schools around the Valley, but they also receive a $1,000 scholarship during the semester of their student teaching. Following graduation, student teachers have the opportunity to commit to three years of educating students in a high-needs school in exchange for a $10,000 savings bond from the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona.
Erin Ballentine, a 2010 participant in the Rodel Promising Student Teacher program, believes that the tools she has gained from working with Rodel Exemplary Teacher Lori Chevira have helped prepare her for a successful teaching career.
"I feel that I am very fortunate to student teach with a Rodel mentor teacher who is experienced and has a wealth of knowledge," Ballentine said. "I want to be a role model to my students and help them realize the importance of an education."
For many students graduating with degrees in education in Arizona, finding a permanent job can be one of the most difficult challenges — but not for Rodel Promising Student Teachers. Beyond increased job opportunities, Teachers College Dean Sally Hurwitz believes that the program’s success is measured by the number of participants who continue to teach in high-needs school after graduation.
“The goal…is for promising student teachers in colleges of education to be matched with exemplary teachers in high needs areas,” she said. “The outcome of this match is to increase the number of highly effective teachers working with high needs students in Arizona.”
And based upon information from the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona, the program is more than successful: 95 percent of the 300 students who participated in the program continued to teach following their participation and 90 percent stayed committed to working in high-needs schools around the state. In addition to near-perfect retention goals, Rodel Promising Student Teachers exceed expectations when it comes to classroom success as well. A recent ASU study determined that students educated by Rodel Promising Student Teachers achieve higher test scores than those in classes taught by non-Rodel educators.
“The research has shown what we always believed,” said. Carol G. Peck, President and CEO of the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona. “A new teacher’s success can be tied to the quality of mentorship he or she received before taking charge of a classroom.”
Any undergraduate students in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College who are interested in applying for the Rodel Promising Student Teacher program can access the application online at www.rodelfoundationaz.org or in person at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College offices on each ASU campus by October 1 to apply for the spring 2011 semester and by March 1, 2011 for participation in fall 2011.
Candidates for the Rodel Promising Student Teacher program are undergraduate students in either elementary, early childhood, English as a second language or secondary education math degree programs, are committed to working with high-needs students and must have at least a 3.0 GPA. The Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona will conduct interviews with finalists who have previous field experience evaluations and who have submitted two letters of recommendation.
Howard Paley, the program administrator for the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona, believes the students’ accomplishments in the classroom following graduation speaks volumes to the Rodel Promising Student Teachers success.
“This is truly amazing because it is a testament to the skill and effort of so many people successfully working to improve education for our state’s high-needs students.”
Written by Lauren Proper, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenni Thomas, email@example.com
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College