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April 7, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Innovative teacher preparation programs at Eastern Oregon University got a boost from two state grants that will expand collaboration and responsive teaching practices in rural Oregon.
The Educator Advancement Panel and Oregon Department of Education awarded grants to two EOU programs: one that’s already successful, and one that’s brand-new.
The Oregon Teacher Pathway (OTP) program received $350,000 to enhance its work. OTP began in 2014, and has allowed over 250 high school students to explore a career in teaching while being mentored by EOU students. High schoolers who matriculate from the program to EOU can earn tuition reductions and serve as mentors themselves. Over a dozen graduates of the program are already teaching in regional classrooms.
OTP Director and education professor Tawnya Lubbes said the new funds will improve opportunities for professional development and increase stipends for high school teachers who introduce teens to a career in education. The grant will also support data analysis and collection to evaluate the program, connect first- and second-year teachers with grants, and provide multicultural libraries for their classrooms.
New to the mix, the Teach Rural Oregon (TRO) and the Eastern Oregon Teaching Academy (EOTA), were awarded $200,000 in partnership with the Wallowa Educational Service District. Education professor Dave Dallas founded TRO and EOTA in order to open the door for community college students, paraprofessionals, and other individuals to become teachers in rural areas of the state as well as provide professional development opportunities for teachers in underserved rural schools.
Grant funding will provide an opportunity for community college students from Gresham to visit rural Eastern Oregon for three weeks in May to observe classrooms and converse with and learn from rural colleagues. A student board, crisis intervention for teachers, access to EOU faculty and stipends for guest speakers are also part of the vision for EOTA. Ultimately, the program aims to recruit more teachers to the rural areas of Oregon, Dallas said.
“We’re [OTP and TRO] two of 27 grant recipients in the state of Oregon, so EOU received over a half-million dollars of that pot of funding. It’s significant that our programs are being recognized and allowed that opportunity,” Lubbes said.
The OTP program also qualified to apply for an additional $100,000 grant through the Meyer Foundation.
Learn more about the Oregon Teacher Pathway at eou.edu/otp. Learn more about Teach Rural Oregon and the Eastern Oregon Teacher Academy at eou.edu/teach-rural-oregon.
By PR Intern Emily Andrews
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