SECU Foundation supports Innovative Teaching Program with $200,000 investment

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RALEIGH — SECU Foundation is teaming up with North Carolina State University College of Education and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education to fund the expansion of Pathway to Practice NC, an innovative program to address North Carolina’s teaching shortage.

The program is an online, competency-based program designed for lateral entry teachers and is a state-approved Educator Preparation Program offered jointly by the two universities.

A $200,000 investment from the foundation will assist with the development of content specific competencies and modules for individuals with a residency license to earn their dual teaching certifications in elementary and special education. The grant will also provide funding for ten $5,000 scholarships to help increase program enrollment.

SECU Foundation Board Chair Bob Brinson announced the grant and presented a ceremonial check to university officials during a recent event.

“We are proud to be a supporting partner of this valuable program to address the issue of teacher attrition and retention,” Brinson said. “The foundation’s grant will be used to strengthen and expand university offerings of the program and help fill the growing need for elementary and special education teachers throughout the state. Ultimately, this is an investment in the future of our state’s education system, our teachers, and students, and one that we hope will provide significant and long-term dividends for North Carolina.”

Pathway to Practice NC was launched in 2017 by the two universities as an online, self-paced program not restricted by semester structure or travel needs – a huge convenience factor and an affordable option for educators interested in becoming licensed to teach in one or both of the fields. The program takes 12 to 18 months to complete and currently enrolls 76 residency license teachers from across the state.

Mary Ann Danowitz, dean of the N.C. State College of Education said, “Thanks to the SECU Foundation, Pathway to Practice NC will be able to support more career changers and prepare them to become highly effective teachers. This is a critical investment because we know that teachers are the most influential school-based factor on student success. SECU Foundation is providing resources to attract and retain talented individuals who will improve the lives of K-12 students across the state, especially in high-needs school districts.”

“This funding from the SECU Foundation helps our partnership to build capacity to address a growing need in North Carolina for teachers in critical content areas, and to do so by expanding a high-quality program that is designed to be responsive to the needs of working educators and schools,” said Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, dean of the School of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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