Bioscience

NAU-YUMA receives teacher training grant

October 16, 2009

By Flinn Foundation

NAU-YUMA receives teacher training grant

Northern Arizona University Yuma branch has received a $1.5 million dollar federal grant for teacher training…

The five year grant  is known as the Preparing Rural Inclusive Special Educators (PRISE) sponsored by the Office of English Language Acquisition under the auspices of the Department of Education, Nancy Blitz, of NAU-Yuma College of Education, said.

PRISE is a unique opportunity for future educators who want to serve the needs of multi-cultural and bilingual students with disabilities, Blitz said.

“The point of this program is to help us home grow teachers prepared for special education (developmentally, physically or emotionally challenged) students and also handle the needs of all English language learners, which there’s a huge concentration in Yuma and La Paz Counties.”

She also pointed out the program cannot guarantee teachers will choose special education but encourage them to do so because there is such a pressing need. PRISE is a six-semester grant for students ready to enter their junior year taking a dual major in elementary and special education.

Students in the program enter as a cohort of 15 who will take the same classes with the same instructors and graduate at the same time, Blitz said. The grant covers cost of books and tuition for the first five semesters. But during the sixth semester when students do student teaching they must handle their own expenses. When they reach the sixth semester a new cohort will begin the program.

In order to qualify for the grant, students must be employed during their first five semesters as an instructional aide in one of the consortium schools, those district schools who participated as a partner in the grant, Blitz said.

They must also complete all their general education course work along with prerequisite course work for acceptance into NAU’s College of Education. And students must also qualify for in-state tuition, establishing residency for at least the previous 12 months. It is an incredible way to became a teacher, she added.

“What you learn in class on Monday you can apply the next day because you’re already working in a school setting as an instructional aide and learning practical applications you’ll be using on a daily basis.”

For further information candidates can contact Blitz at: 344-7677 or online at: nancy.blitz@nau.edu.