Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Scholarships for Future Appalachian Teachers

by Malcolm Morgan

The "Choose Appalachian Teaching" (CAT) and the Robert Noyce Scholarship Programs are both aimed at keeping talented Math and Science teachers in the region. Both of these scholarships are aimed at responding to the shortage of math and science teachers in rural Appalachia.

The Noyce Scholarship offers students:
- Loan/scholarships up to $17,000 per year
- Juniors, seniors, or graduate students (in fifth year programs) can receive up to two (2) years of loan/scholarship support.
- If an individual teaches in an approved high-needs school the loan (principal and interest) is converted to a scholarship. Service provided in an Appalachian or rural school is preferred.

The scholarship is not just offered at Ohio University but also at Shawnee State University and the University of Rio Grande. It also requires two years of teaching service in a qualified school for each year of financial support. Director of the Southeast Ohio Center for Exellence in Mathematics and Science, Al Cote, explains why it is important to retain teachers from Appalachia.

Al Cote Talks about importance of retaining teachers

The Choose Appalachian Teaching Scholarship is another scholarship program geared toward Appalachia. This scholarship is supposed to create 75 additional high school Mathematics and Science teachers in Southeast, Ohio. The program will provide $4,000 per year at OU's Athens campus. The scholarship will also be available to students at Marietta College, Muskingum College, Shawnee State University and the University of Rio Grande. Applicants at OU's five regional campuses are also eligible for a $2,000 per year award.

The CAT scholarship is also unlike any other traditional scholarship programs because it is a seven-year commitment. After graduating, CAT scholars will engage in a three-year professional induction program in one of many Appalachian Ohio counties, including Athens. The teachers will receive additional mentoring from university faculty during this time. The scholarship will also work to create a network with teachers of the same subject. CAT Director Greg Foley says that this is an important part of the program especially for new teachers.

Greg Foley talks about teaching network

Cote says many people are not attracted to rural Appalachia because of how isolated and spread out it is. This makes it hard to attract young teachers to stay in rural areas. But Cote says that the incentives from these programs as well as the tightly knit community should be a draw for people to come to Appalachia.

Cote talks about Appalachian Community

The CAT scholarship is set up to award 34 scholarships and hopes to add more in the future.

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