Alabama And Black Belt Region
The Black Belt Teacher Corps and The University of West Alabama's Rural Education Center bolster rural education in Alabama and the Black Belt regions of Mississippi and Georgia.
The University of West Alabama (UWA) serves as an operational hub, connecting our work to Alabama and the Black Belt regions of Mississippi and Georgia. “Hubs” comprise and help define a flexible and cost-effective infrastructure for the organization, and the relationship between the Hubs and RSC are mutually beneficial. UWA College of Education dean, Dr. Jan Miller, will serve as the hub contact person for this effort. Dr. Miller also serves as an RSC Advocate.
The University of West Alabama is located in the small rural town of Livingston, which is located in the middle of the Black Belt Region. The Black Belt has a unique history and geography, and UWA is perfectly positioned to address issues such as rural poverty, teacher shortages, and the concept of school and community improvement.
The relationship between the Rural Schools Collaborative and The University of West Alabama was facilitated by RSC board member Larry Lee (Montgomery, AL) and started with a modest planning grant in 2015. Since that time, under the leadership of Dr. Miller and University president, Dr. Ken Tucker, UWA has become a national leader in the field of rural education. This commitment has led to the establishment of several exemplary efforts. These include:
- The Black Belt Teacher Corps
- Teach for Alabama
- Center for Rural Education
- Project REP
- University REACH School and
- a statewide partnership with the National Rural Education Association
- a new doctoral program in Rural Education
RSC director, Gary Funk, said, "On behalf of our board of directors, I want to thank Dr. Miller, her colleagues and students for working with us. They have been gracious partners, and we would not be where we are today without UWA's support and cooperation. In addition, we are so thankful for Larry Lee and his tireless advocacy of public education. Not only did Larry make possible this relationship, but his commitment to our Grants in Place program has been wonderful."
View this short film on Project REP. Also, here are the latest stories from our Alabama Hub:
- Allie Carson Selected as an RSC Grants in Place Godsil Fellow (January 2021)
- The University of West Alabama receives large federal grant to support teacher development. (December 2020)
- Black Belt Teacher Corps alum and UCS teacher, Haley Richardson, is featured in the I Am a Rural Teacher annual report. (December 2020)
- Georgia school and community honored through Cultivating Community program.(October 2020)
- Brittany Williams selected for the national Young Educators Advisory Council. (October 2020)
A Statewide Initiative
Increased Funding Supports New Teach for Alabama Program
This week we’d like to share the incredible work of our partners at the University of West Alabama’s College of Education. The inspiring and ever-evolving work of the Black Belt Teacher Corps (BBTC), now known as Black Belt Teacher Corps Teach for Alabama, is truly a model for other universities interested in tackling rural teacher shortages.
BBTC began in the fall of 2016 with a goal to address the teacher shortages present in public schools throughout the Black Belt region. To do this, BBTC offers tuition scholarships to the College of Education for students who commit to three years of service in a Black Belt region school.
Recently, the scholarship program broadened the scope of its programming in several key ways. First, they’ve expanded teacher placements to serve not only Black Belt counties, but also any designated rural areas of Alabama and high-needs districts. Additionally, they’ve extended scholarship opportunities to more than the traditional on-campus student, accepting applications from Alt-A applicants, online applicants, and teacher assistants working towards initial certification.