The Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ nationally recognized scholarship program to recruit new teachers to rural school districts is expanding to serve both the southeast and southwest regions of Missouri.
The Ozarks Teacher Corps will now accept applications from teacher-education students at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau and Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. The program provides $2,000 per year for up to two years if students commit to teaching in a rural school district for three years following graduation.
To prepare them for teaching in a rural school, the CFO provides Ozarks Teacher Corps participants with special training on topics like place-based education and the needs of rural students. They also join the CFO’s network of Ozarks Teacher Corps alumni and other rural education advocates.
The scholarship program continues to be available to students at Missouri State University and Drury University in Springfield.
To apply for the Ozarks Teacher Corps and other scholarships administered by the CFO, students can visit cfozarks.org/scholarships.
Due to the success of the program, the Ozarks Teacher Corps has become a national model for the preparation and placement of rural educators. According to a 2019 report by the Rural Schools Collaborative, 92% of participants in the Ozarks Teacher Corps successfully completed their three-year commitments, and most are still teaching in the districts that originally hired them. About 60% teach in a district within 30 miles of their hometown.
Since its inception in 2010, the Ozarks Teacher Corps has awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships and placed more than 60 teachers in rural schools across central and southern Missouri. It is a component of the CFO’s Rural Schools Partnership, an initiative dedicated to improving rural communities through school foundations, scholarships, grantmaking, advocacy and youth philanthropy.
Founded in 1973, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks is the region’s largest public charitable foundation serving a network of donors, 53 regional affiliate foundations and nonprofit partners across central and southern Missouri through with assets of $394 million as of June 30, 2021.