Donations from our generous supporters help to fund the parts of the UTeach program that cannot be financed with state monies. These programs are mission critical, touching on all parts of the program--from beginning to end--that contribute so much to the future success of our graduates.
One of the hallmarks of the UTeach program is the emphasis on field experiences. Our students begin to learn about teaching by teaching from the very first course in the program. As they progress, they spend even more time in the field, learning from expert mentor teachers. All of this even before they get to their student teaching semester! UTeach relies on our endowment to fund these vital experiences, everything from stipends for the teachers who generously provide feedback to our pre-service teachers to equipment and supplies.
The UTeach program also provides our students with the opportunity to work in an educational setting. Our Internship Program is the largest expense of all our donor-funding programs. In the Internship Program, students are paid a generous stipend to work 10 to 20 hours a week with a non-profit organization in the Austin area that provides educational services to the community. The internship program supports a variety of positions such as assisting with the development of educational materials, working directly with families and children, providing guided tours at local museums and science centers, and assisting with after-school programs devoted to helping children succeed.
These community-based programs have come to count on UTeach students at sites like the River City Youth Foundation, Boys and Girls of America, the Austin Nature and Science Center and more. These jobs provide our students with both financial assistance and practical education-related experiences, as well as benefiting the local community. Each semester UTeach funds 80 to 100 internships and we could not do it without the generous support of donors like you.
Your help continues even after our students have graduated and moved into a classroom of their own through our Induction Program. Even though the state of Texas has mandated that teacher preparation programs provide their graduates with support, no funding has ever been appropriated to fund this obligation, so UTeach must turn to other sources. We know that the first 5 years of a teacher's career are crucial. In fact, of those who leave the teaching field, fully half do so in that time period. With this in mind, UTeach cannot be content just meeting the letter of the law. It's not enough to simply graduate top notch math and science teachers. We have to retain them in the classroom. With your help, we are doing just that, starting with their very first job.
According to the National School Supply and Equipment Association, a trade association made up of educational product manufacturers, teachers in the U.S. spend just over $350 a year on school supplies and instructional supplies. As part of the UTeach Induction Program, all new graduates receive a box full of supplies to help them get that first classroom ready: index cards, pens, pencils, folders, dry erase markers, colored paper, stacking trays, and more. This may not sound like much, but being able to give our grads these basic supplies helps them get a solid start on the school year.
We have also been able to provide support on a regular basis through professional development opportunities, helping with technology in the classroom, providing classroom observations, and even sending these future teacher-leaders to conferences. Our goal is to offer induction support to all of our grads on an on-going so that we can increase retention in the classroom, while improving student achievement and helping transition our graduates from novice to expert.
Field experiences, internships, and induction are only some of the aspects of our program that are donor-funded. And as the program grows, so does demand. To help meet this demand and in order to keep growing, UTeach has set a goal of building a 15 million dollar endowment. We are halfway toward meeting this goal. If you are interested in contributing to our endowment, please contact Kay Thomas, Assistant Dean for Development, College of Natural Sciences (512) 471-3299.
UTeach also accepts financial support in any amount at any time. Donations can be made to the program in general or to support a specific aspect of the program, like scholarships or internships. Make a one-time gift or an annual pledge. We'd love to hear from you. An investment in UTeach is an investment in the future.