K-State College of Education receives grant to recruit and mentor new teachers
Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023
MANHATTAN — Kansas State University's College of Education has received a federal grant to bring its teacher education program to local school districts and community colleges in an effort to combat statewide and national teacher shortages.
The $2.6 million project aims to create an education pipeline for underserved and place-bound students planning to become teachers in three Kansas school districts and three community colleges.
The five-year grant, Project REFORM — an acronym for Redesigning Experiences Forging Opportunities for Recruitment and Mentorships — is funded through the Teacher Quality Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Project REFORM is a collaborative effort among the College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences at K-State, Topeka USD 501, Allen Community College, Independence USD 446, Independence Community College, Coffeyville USD 445, and Coffeyville Community College.
"We are so proud to work with local educators to bring K-State's award-winning teacher education program to Coffeyville, Independence and Topeka," said Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education. "There are many amazing students who want to become teachers and contribute to their home communities, and we are excited to be the trusted higher education partner in this collaboration."
The project is designed to reach underserved students and focuses on the three school districts, which serve a total of 16,272 students. Each partner will play a key role in supporting the reimagined community college and university teacher education pathways that streamline the educational journeys for students who are economically challenged or place-bound.
Included in Project REFORM's main components is a clinical internship that extends the amount of time teacher candidates spend in classrooms from a semester to a full year. The project also includes a mentor teacher academy to provide additional support for the teacher candidates.
"Project REFORM is our second Teacher Quality Partnership grant leveraging our online undergraduate degree program in elementary education in collaboration with Kansas school district and community college partners," said Todd Goodson, associate dean of the college and lead investigator for the project. "We believe this is critically important work that addresses the need to diversify our teacher force and respond to the current teacher shortage."
In addition to Goodson, three K-State faculty members are co-principal investigators for the project — Tonnie Martinez, coordinator of the office of innovation and collaboration; Eileen Wertzberger, director of field experiences; and Lori Goodson, assistant director of the Rural Education Center.