A federal Department of Education grant to train American Indian public school teachers was awarded in August to the School of Education at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
The First Americans’ Teacher Education (FATE) grant is for $948,478 over four years. The program aims to recruit and train 15 American Indian teachers in Hoke and Robeson Counties.
Project director for FATE is Dr. Zoe Locklear, dean of the School of Education. She said the grant addresses several critical education issues in the region.
“The grant proposes to address the shortage of American Indian teachers at all levels in Southeastern North Carolina through a comprehensive strategy that will support the new teachers even as they begin work in the classroom,” Dr. Locklear said. “I am very pleased regarding the funding of this project. It is so exciting to know that we will receive significant funding to not only address the regional teacher shortage, but to especially address the production of American Indian teachers who will eventually serve as role models for children of all ethnicities but especially for American Indian students.
“I’m particularly appreciative of the collaboration provided to me in the development of this proposal by Dr. Brenda Dial-Deese, director of student services with the Public Schools of Robeson County,” she said. “It is this sort of collaboration between the School of Education and the regional public school systems that results in successful service delivery projects, such as this one.”
In Robeson County where UNCP is located, 43 percent of the students are American Indian, but fewer than 30 percent of teachers are Indian. In Hoke County, 14 percent of the students are American Indian, while one in 10 teachers is an American Indian.
UNCP was founded with an exclusive mission to train American Indian teachers. The institution continues to be strongly committed to this group, and its American Indian heritage is honored in many of the cultural programs, said Chancellor Allen C. Meadors.
“We are proud of the rich heritage of UNC Pembroke,” Chancellor Meadors said. “We will continue to honor the University’s founders through the high quality academic and events we offer our students.”
The FATE project will train a minimum of 15 American Indian teacher education students to become qualified teachers over the three years of the grant. The fourth year of the project will provide induction support and professional development for the teachers.
The project is designed to achieve three goals: (1) increase the number of highly qualified American Indian teachers in Hoke and Robeson counties; (2) institutionalize a culturally relevant program in UNCP’s School of Education; and (3) improve the induction phase these newly licensed teachers in the partner counties.
The project design includes multiple types of support including teacher examination (PRAXIS) and other test-taking workshops, intensive early field experiences at local schools, training in technology and classroom management techniques, participant stipends and childcare support, and conference experiences.
Mentor-teacher stipends and classroom resource support will also be provided. Project evaluation will consist of multiple data collection using qualitative and quantitative data from a variety of sources: personal reflection journals, field experience logs, participant surveys, technology use inventories, mid-term and end-of-semester grades, and PRAXIS licensure testing scores.
The project will fund the tuition, books and fees of at least 15 American Indian teacher education students. Education supplies and laptop computers will also be supplied for participants.
Professional development activities both on and off campus are planned, including attendance at state and national professional conferences. It is a comprehensive support program that includes funds for childcare expenses if needed.
UNCP’s Center for Sponsored Research and Programs assisted the School of Education in the grant application.
For more information, please contact the School of Education at 910.521.6221.