Four Inner-City Districts, Unions Receive Grants To Train Teachers

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Four inner-city school districts-together with their teachers'- union locals and nearby universities-have been named as the first recipients of AT&T Foundation grants that are to be used to improve and retain teachers.

The philanthropic arm of the telecommunications giant this month announced that it will bestow $400,000 each on projects in New York City and San Francisco and a two-district effort based in Jacksonville, Fla.

Additional sites are expected to be selected early next year. All told, the AT&T Foundation plans to contribute $3 million to the project, the newest within its Teachers for Tomorrow program.

"The classroom teacher is the most important key to successful school reform and improved student learning," Anne Alexander, the foundation's vice president of education programs, said in announcing the grants. "And clearly, none of America's national education goals ... can be achieved without significant change in the way teachers are prepared for their jobs."

As envisioned, veteran teachers will serve as mentors to teacher candidates, who will be attending institutions whose courses and training will be redesigned to reflect inner-city school experiences.

To help implement the program the foundation has teamed up with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. The association will provide technical assistance and hold seminars for participants.

Program Specifics

In the Jacksonville program, three elementary schools in the Duval and Clay county school systems will be selected as clinical sites. In them, education students from the University of North Florida will be trained with the help of master teachers and members of Duval Teachers United and the Clay County Education Association.

A second component of the Jacksonville project is designed to identify minority students at Florida Community College for teaching careers.

In San Francisco, six elementary schools will serve as clinical settings for the preparation of interns from San Francisco State University. Members of United Educators of San Francisco will work with beginning teachers at the school site, and, after a year or two, the novices will return to the university and share their experiences with the next batch of interns.

The initiative in New York City will involve the City University of New York, the school system, and the United Federation of Teachers. Among the goals of the New York , initiative are the incorporation of reflection, criticism, and collaboration into the university's teacher-training curriculum and the clarification of the relationship between liberal arts and contemporary urban culture.

Vol. 11, Issue 13, Page 11

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