Vicksburg Warren School District to benefit from William Carey SEED Funding

Published 12:31 pm Friday, August 18, 2023

The U.S. Department of Education’s “Supporting Effective Education Development” program (SEED) has awarded William Carey University a three-year, $2.1 million grant for a teacher residency program to train future elementary teachers in STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The Vicksburg Warren School District was listed as one of the beneficiaries.

This SEED funding will support 32 undergraduate students majoring in education, who will spend their junior and senior years learning teaching strategies in real-world classrooms from experienced math/science mentors and university instructors.

The students selected for WCU’s “Stepping Up STEM” program will serve in eight school districts with critical teacher shortages: Covington County, Forrest County, Greenville, Hattiesburg, Laurel, Picayune, Stone County and Vicksburg-Warren.

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Upon graduation from William Carey, the students will receive a K-6 teaching license with additional certifications in STEM and Special Education areas.

After that, they will work as full-time teachers in their partner school districts for two years.

“We pride ourselves on fighting the teacher shortage and trying to make sure we have an effective teacher in every classroom. The teacher candidates chosen for this program will learn how to work with their students to enhance problem-solving and critical thinking skills,” said Dr. Teresa Poole, dean of the WCU School of Education. “As a former science teacher, this is really encouraging to me because many times students are not introduced to STEM content until secondary school. We want to change that, and we want to make sure our elementary teachers feel prepared to teach these kinds of classes.”

The grant also provides the mentor teachers from partner districts with professional enhancement training for three years and the opportunity to earn a STEM endorsement leading to a master’s degree at William Carey University.

Dr. Katie Tonore is the WCU School of Education’s chair of curriculum and instruction.

“This means, at the end of the grant period, the eight partner school districts will have a much stronger STEM culture. Each district will have four new math and science teachers — plus an experienced mentor teacher with enhanced STEM skills,” Tonore said.