MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University's Great River Teacher Corps (GRTC) program is meeting the need for more rural teacher education student scholarships by offering seven for the 2019-20 academic year.
Thanks to the Tracy Family Foundation, Galesburg Community Foundation, the Quincy-based Community Foundation of West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri, The Fellheimer Trust, based in Macomb, area banks and individual donors, seven student scholarships will be available.
Students will receive between $8,000-14,000 in scholarship assistance through donations, and, in turn, commit to teaching in a rural or small school in a 22-county area in west central Illinois (Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cast, Fulton, Greene, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Knox, Mason, McDonough, Mercer, Morgan, Peoria, Pike, Rock Island, Schuyler, Scott, Stark, Tazewell and Warren) for a minimum of three years after receiving their teaching licenses/certificates.
"We are very proud to increase the number of scholarships this year," said Greg Montalvo, assistant dean for educator preparation for the WIU College of Education and Human Services (COEHS). "We recognize the need for teachers in rural schools. The support from the region allows us to add to the network of teachers who want to work in school districts in west central Illinois."
The program not only provides monetary support, but it also offers professional development support. Last semester, Gary Funk, director of the Rural Schools Collaborative spoke to teacher education students on the impact public education has on rural development. Recently, the current cohort traveled to the Stark County School District to meet with teachers and administrators to reinforce the importance of their studies.
This semester, the GRTC students, in conjunction with ELED 445, an Honors seminar course in elementary education, are planning a place-based education initiative at the Stark County Elementary School in Wyoming, IL. Teacher education candidates will be working with teams of fifth grade students and their teachers to create proposals to improve the school and/or community.
There will be a fair, where community leaders will serve as judges and select a project to be carried out during the 2019-20 academic year. Nick Sutton, WIU alumnus and superintendent of Stark County Schools; Barry Witten, professor in WIU's Curriculum and Instruction; and Montalvo will be guiding the activity.
The deadline to apply for a scholarship is March 15.
For more information, to donate to the scholarship fund or to apply for the scholarship and view all of the requirements, visit wiu.edu/grtc.
Learn more about the launch of the Great River Teacher Corps, the importance of the rural teacher corps concept, and other efforts that are part of the Rural Schools Collaborative Rural Teacher Corps Network.