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FGCU Attracts $2 Million Federal Grant to Train Teachers
8/7/2006

#126 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 7, 2006 10:19 AM     
For information contact:
Marci Greene at (239) 590-7781

FORT MYERS, FL - The College of Education at Florida Gulf Coast University was recently awarded a $2 million federal grant to fund the Teacher Immersion Program that helps recruit, train and retain new teachers.
     The Transition to Teaching grant was awarded to FGCU with the Lee County School Board as its partner. FGCU will subcontract with Lee County and Lee County will hire a staff person to recruit applicants for the program.
     FGCU is one of 20 programs to receive the grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
     "This grant is special and unique. Only a very few other schools received this grant," Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Bonnie Yegidis said. "FGCU's College of Education is recognized as a national example for teacher training."
     Over the next five years, the award funds $400,000 annually for a total of $2 million. FGCU trains 40 students each year to be teachers. The grant pays the tuition. Training occurs during the summer. Students are supported through the fall and spring with a mentor.
     "The Transition to Teaching grant will provide financial support for 200 individuals to become teachers, targeting current district employees in the Lee County Public Schools who have non-education four-year degrees with an interest to teach," said Dean of the College of Education and principal investigator of the grant Marci Greene. Patricia Wachholz, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, is co-principal investigator of the grant.
     Lee County has 100 paraprofessionals in K-12 schools with bachelor's degrees in non-educational areas. FGCU expects to attract some of these staffers to the program.
     "FGCU has been instrumental in several initiatives with the district and I am thrilled that we were awarded this grant. It will go a long way to help us fill our need for teachers," said Superintendent of Schools James Browder.
     Top priority in student selection is given to applicants interested in becoming math and science teachers or special education teachers.
     "While most of our participants have accepted positions in Lee or Collier counties, there are a number who have been employed by Charlotte and Hendry counties," Wachholz said.
     The Teacher Immersion Program at FGCU has trained 209 participants since 2003. Once trained through TIP, participants may seek employment in any Florida county.
     "The project provides prospective teaching candidates with scholarships and mentoring opportunities to increase the retention of teachers in these high need areas," Greene said.
     For more information, media representatives should contact Greene at (239) 590-7781 or mgreene@fgcu.edu.

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