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Darden College Receives Grant to Lead Norfolk STEM Teacher Residency

Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education & Professional Studies has received a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Education to support the preparation of 15 math and science teachers for Norfolk public schools.

The "Teacher Immersion Residency" is a joint project with Norfolk public schools, similar to the Darden college's successful Teacher in Residence program.

"This is a tremendously exciting collaborative program with Norfolk Public Schools," said Dean Jane Bray, of the Darden College. "Our research and teaching faculty have long-standing links with Norfolk Public Schools. Many of our graduates have had long careers teaching throughout Hampton Roads. This program matches our proficiency in training STEM educators with the obvious needs in our public schools."

In a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, outgoing U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote: "High-quality instruction in science, technology, engineering and math - subjects collectively known as STEM - can provide students with a lens to approach and view the world."

However, there is a recognized shortage nationwide in the supply of STEM teachers, which disproportionately affects lower income school divisions with a larger percentage of minority students.

Under the Teacher Immersion Residency program, successful candidates will be fully prepared to teach in a nine-month period while immersed in a Norfolk Public School. All tuition and fees will be covered by the grant, and participants will receive a stipend of up to $25,000.

If hired by Norfolk Public Schools following the program, participants will be required to spend three years teaching in the school division, or may have to repay their stipend.

In order to be eligible, participants require a bachelor's degree in a recognized high-needs subject from a regionally accredited institution, with an undergraduate GPA of 2.8 or higher.

Entrants will also complete an interview and submit an admission essay.

Completion of the Teacher Immersion Residency will make participants eligible for employment in one of the high-need Norfolk Public Schools, as well as post-graduate mentoring as a new teacher in a high-need school.

Prospective candidates of the program are asked to contact C.J. Butler, senior lecturer of communication disorders and special education, at cbutler@odu.edu, or Peggy Shaeffer, interim assistant dean for undergraduate studies in the Darden College of Education & Professional Studies, at mshaeffe@odu.edu, or 757-683-5470.

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