July 14, 1999 - New Teacher Training Program Addresses Urban Needs
Contact: Melinda Voss, (651) 296-9443, firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to urgent needs expressed by the Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools, three Twin Cities higher education institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system have developed a program to focus on urban education needs. This program will increase the number of teachers of color, as well as attract low-income, first-generation college students to teaching careers.
Beginning fall semester, 1999, Minneapolis Community and Technical College and Inver Hills Community College will enroll students in the new Urban Teacher Education Program. This initiative, which is built around the two-year Associate in Arts degree, will enable students to work effectively with a diverse student body, use technology creatively in the classroom, and apply a standards-based approach to teaching.
Metropolitan State University, the third partner in the initiative, will provide the last two years of a four-year degree in education, which is required for teacher licensure in Minnesota.
"Teachers, particularly teachers of color, are in great demand in our urban schools," said Carol Johnson, superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools. "The Minneapolis Public Schools strongly support the goals of the Urban Teacher Education Program, and we look forward to hiring graduates who are competent and sensitive to the needs of urban classrooms." Both the Minneapolis and St. Paul school systems will encourage their own graduates, education assistants and teacher support personnel to consider the urban teacher program.
A distinctive feature of the Urban Teacher Education Program is that students, beginning in their first year of college, will spend 60 to 70 hours each semester in an urban classroom in Minneapolis or St. Paul, alongside an experienced teacher. This approach assumes that more depth and breadth in applied preparation will increase teacher readiness and retention.
"The Urban Teacher Education Program will provide students with field experience early in their preparation that will give them a direct link to jobs in our urban Twin Cities' schools," said Morris J. Anderson, chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. "We will not only train fine urban teachers, but we will have a good chance of increasing the number of teachers of color in Twin Cities' schools."
Both Minneapolis Community and Technical College and Inver Hills Community College will admit their first class of Urban Teacher Education Program students this fall semester, which begins Aug. 30. MCTC President Phillip Davis expressed his enthusiasm for the new program in this way: "As the most diverse college in Minnesota, MCTC is well-prepared to contribute to this innovative teacher training initiative. We look forward to our partnership with the Minneapolis Public Schools in this venture."
Inver Hills Community College President Cheryl Frank noted the unique role of the community colleges in the initiative. "By working with the St. Paul Public Schools, Inver Hills will be on the cutting edge in pioneering a role for community colleges in developing more experienced, prepared teachers," said Frank.
For more information about the Urban Teacher Education Program in Minneapolis at MCTC, call (612) 341-7304. For more information about the program in St. Paul at Inver Hills Community College, call (651) 450-8675.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is made up of 36 state universities, community and technical colleges and a campus in Japan. The system serves approximately 230,000 students a year with a fall 1998 enrollment of about 140,000.