The University of Toledo and Toledo Public Schools (TPS) have partnered together to create a new degree initiative called Teach Toledo to recruit and prepare the Glass City’s citizens to become Toledo’s teachers.
“The new degree initiative allows us to build on research on what teachers need to be successful in central city schools,” Dr. Lynne Hamer, professor of educational foundations and leadership in the UT Judith Herb College of Education, said. “First, they need life experience being part of urban neighborhoods. Second, they need to know history and culture that is relevant to their students. Third, they need to understand the complex economic and bureaucratic systems that they will work within.”
Teach Toledo students will receive partial tuition scholarships and earn an associate of arts degree with a focus on urban education within two and a half years. The first class is scheduled to begin in fall 2016.
“As a TPS and UT graduate, I know the power of teaching in our city, which is why I believe in Teach Toledo,” Dr. Romules Durant, TPS superintendent, said.
At least the first year of college classes will take place at TPS’s Jones Leadership Academy, where Teach Toledo students will gain early classroom experience by interacting with the preschool, middle school and high school students who attend Jones.
“In urban school districts nationwide, children need dedicated teachers who understand their neighborhood and community,” Hamer said. “We want to grow our own teachers by investing in people of all ages who want to stay in Toledo, including high school students, parents and grandparents. This will build diversity in teaching staff, which will contribute to student success in the classroom.”
Participants in Teach Toledo must be admitted to UT, which requires having a high school diploma or GED.
If Teach Toledo graduates want to pursue a teaching license, they can transition to the UT Judith Herb College of Education to complete a bachelor’s degree.
“Teach Toledo courses have the same requirements as those on campus except that they will be specially designed to focus on issues and knowledge essential to urban teaching,” Hamer said. “These include African and African-American history and culture, Latin American and Latino American history and culture, understanding the impact of various levels of government on schooling, understanding economic systems in urban environments, and working for the common good and social welfare.”
UT and TPS have collaborated since 2011 to deliver the UT@TPS program that was designed to make college education more accessible to adults in the Toledo area while building a college-going culture in central city schools.
For more information about how to enroll in Teach Toledo, go to utoledo.edu/education/teachtoledo.