College of Education using KBOR grant to help online students in urban, rural areas earn teaching degrees
MANHATTAN — The Kansas State University College of Education has received a grant from the Kansas Board of Regents to support scholarships for online undergraduate students in urban and rural communities planning to become teachers.
Project TRUST — an acronym for training for rural and urban school teachers — is a $160,000 grant designed to help place-bound students in targeted communities earn a bachelor's degree in elementary education. It will provide 30 students with 12 credit hours of tuition support for their final semester.
Todd Goodson, professor and chair of the college's curriculum and instruction department, is the lead principal investigator for the grant. Assistant curriculum and instruction professors Tonnie Martinez and Lori Goodson are co-principal investigators. The team also includes Eileen Wertzberger, field experiences project coordinator; Susan Erichsen; grant specialist; and LouAnn Getz, research assistant.
"School leaders recognize there are talented future teachers growing up in front of them but for a number of reasons those students are unable or unwilling to leave their communities to attend a four-year university," Martinez said. "These students already know and love their communities and are highly invested in them. We hope the project's scholarships will be an incentive for these outstanding teacher candidates to complete their coursework online and a yearlong student teaching residency in their home communities then fold right into teacher vacancies as soon as they graduate."
Project TRUST supports a grow-your-own program model by allowing students to complete their degree requirements in their home communities while addressing specific teacher needs in hard-to-fill disciplines and underserved areas.
The college first offered this online bachelor's degree in 2017 with eight students enrolled. Today, the number is 110, representing a greater than tenfold – or 1,275% – increase in enrollment.
In addition to working with teacher pathway programs at local school districts, Project TRUST coordinators will work closely with administrators at Kansas City Kansas Community College in Kansas City and Seward County Community College in Liberal.