GVSU education students have chance to receive $30,000 in three years

Susie Skowronek

As Michigan public school test score results fall below national averages – on the mandatory ACT, Michigan’s class of 2010 scored an average of 19.7/36.0 compared to the national average of 21.0/36.0 – public school teachers fall under scrutiny.

To provide Michigan’s newest generation of public school teachers with the best education, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation will offer the W.K. Kellogg Michigan Teaching Fellowship for students entering graduate schools. Set to begin in the summer of 2011, the fellowship will go to 120 student teachers at six Michigan universities, including Grand Valley State University.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, one of the foundation’s larger teaching fellowships, brings students with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics into teaching programs at high-need Michigan schools.

“Many schools, and especially those in urban and rural areas, have a very hard time recruiting and keeping good math and science teachers,” said Beverly Sanford, vice president for communications at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. She pointed out that those same science and math fields are “crucial” to a Michigan economy in which many jobs require strong math and science backgrounds.

The fellowship has so far been met with a smile. Through a Woodrow Wilson Foundation press release, Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm said, “The new math and science teachers who emerge from this fellowship will inspire our kids to be excited about careers in science, math and technology.”

Similar to a national merit scholarship for aspiring teachers, the Michigan teaching fellowship will boost the quantity and quality of STEM teachers entering the workforce as well as function as a launch pad to shape the new generation of teachers, Sanford said.

“This is a time when the national and global marketplaces require individuals to have more knowledge and greater skills than ever before, especially in technology and in the science/math fields that drive a lot of economic innovation,” she said. “It’s strong teachers in these fields who help prepare young people to become well-informed citizens and well-prepared contributors to the state and national economy.”

According to the teaching fellowship’s Web site, about half of new teachers leave their first job within five years. Because of this, the fellowship requires a minimum three-year commitment by student teachers at a high-risk, high-need school. Through mentorship, fellows receive guidance through their initial experiences in long-term school settings.

The fellowship will also overhaul the teacher education system and instate higher standards. It will partner with universities to redesign curricula, create real-life scenarios in teacher classrooms and assess each candidate’s performance.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation funds the teaching fellowship with a $16.7 million grant. Established in 1930 by cereal tycoon W.K. Kellogg, the foundation continues to earn interest through a trust set up by Kellogg. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation strengthens communities to propel children to achieve success as contributors to society.

“In our work to improve the lives of vulnerable children, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation wants to ensure that all children get the development and education they need to become successful in school and in life,” said Kathy Reinke, communications director for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “The WKKF-WW Michigan Teaching Fellowship is an innovative partnership between schools of education and local districts that can really transform education, especially in our home state of Michigan.”

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W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship


* $30,000 stipend

* admission to master’s degree program at one of six participating Michigan universities

* preparation in a high-need urban or rural secondary school

* support and mentoring throughout the three-year teaching commitment

* guidance toward teaching certification

* lifelong membership in a national network of Woodrow Wilson Fellows


* U.S. citizenship or permanent residency

* bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university by June 30, 2011

* major in or a strong professional background in a STEM field

* cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale

For additional guidelines and application information, visit http://www.woodrow.org.