Regent Continues Partnership with Norfolk Schools
By Amanda Morad
November 1, 2011
For the fifth successive year, the partnership between the Regent University School of Education's Teach Now program and Norfolk Public Schools (NPS) has been awarded a federal grant. $255,000 has been made available for academic year 2011-12 to help recruit, prepare and retain teachers of high-need subjects like math and science to teach in Norfolk's middle and high schools.
Program chair Dr. Mervyn Wighting, a professor in Regent's School of Education, said he was delighted to receive the award again this year and noted that it was a glowing testimonial to all the hard work the program's staff and faculty have put into the program.
"This grant has enabled us to be more adventurous, creative and innovative than we would be able to otherwise," said Wighting. "We've been able to form a really meaningful partnership with NPS in a way that's not possible unless you actually have resources at your fingertips."
As soon as grant funding became available in 2007, Regent began hiring NPS teachers to prepare students to work in classrooms. "They know exactly what the climate is like in Norfolk schools and they can impart that to our students," said Wighting.
The Human Resources department of NPS regularly visits Regent to interview Teach Now candidates for their open teaching positions and coach them on what schools are looking for. Through Regent's Career Switcher program, students are certified to teach in any school in Virginia whether they participate in the Teach Now grant or not.
The cornerstone of Teach Now is provided after teachers have been hired and experienced life in the classroom. Because continuity is important for school-age children, retention has been a major point of focus for the program. A special retention bonus is offered to those program graduates who teach in NPS and are rehired after their first year, renewable up to four years.
"The Teach Now program provided me with the opportunity to maintain a balance between family and work that most adults long to experience," said program alumna, Latasha Holloway '07 (Education). "As I have evolved as a teacher, I have learned that building connections with the students and making them feel welcomed is equally important as conveying and transferring my knowledge of the subject to them," she explained.
The grant's effects have made an impact within the School of Education and also for the university. Currently, Teach Now boasts nearly 50 graduates—quickly approaching the School of Education's goal of providing 80 new teachers to NPS.
Learn more about the Teach Now program.
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations
Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888