Carthage College recently received a $150,000 grant from the William & Sheila Konar Foundation to grow its Urban Teacher Preparation Program (UTPP), the most immersive of its kind in Wisconsin.
Designed to expand the pool of educators who are equipped and committed to teach in urban elementary schools, the UTPP provides authentic classroom experience from the beginning.
“This allows them to develop meaningful relationships with mentor teachers and the school community over an extended period of time, fostering confidence that they can and will become effective urban educators,” said Dr. Michele Hancock, a professor of practice in education at Carthage.
With large numbers of low-income families, urban districts often lag behind others in resources and achievement. The UTPP prepares educators to address challenges like those.
Mr. Richard Wytonick, principal of Knapp Elementary School in Racine, said the Carthage program “is what I have been waiting for to stop the constant turnover that we deal with in urban education.” He believes so strongly in it that he promises to grant an interview to any UTPP graduate who applies for an open position.
“Students in this program are truly immersed in the experience, and I know that, when they graduate, they will be ready with the necessary skills to be successful in what can be a very difficult environment,” Wytonick said.
Program goals align with the Konar Foundation’s mission to improve lives by promoting educational opportunities, access to health care, and a more tolerant civil society. With the grant funding, Carthage plans to expand UTPP activities and research over the next three years.
That expansion will focus on increasing the number of teacher candidates and expert urban educators; strengthening national partnerships; securing STEAM certification for teacher candidates; and launching a summer college preparation program for students who want to pursue teaching careers.