Center to help future teachers with grant

A grant from a local bank is helping the TCU Center for Urban Education start a program to recruit high school students to become teachers, said a member of the Center of Urban Education. University Advancement and faculty members at the center got the grant from Citigroup to start Aspiring Educators, the new program, said Cecilia Silva, an associate professor of education.

“The Center for Urban Education has several goals, and one of them is to help high school students who are interested in teaching,” Silva said.

One of the purposes of Aspiring Educators is to inspire students to become teachers, Silva said.

“Aspiring Educators wants to support students by helping students apply for college, getting all the paperwork done and finishing all the steps involved with going to college,” Silva said.

Members of the Center for Urban Education have been working closely with three high schools and with the Fort Worth Independent School District, Silva said.

“The program has a lot of support from Fort Worth ISD, principals and students,” Silva said. “Principals want these opportunities in their schools.”

The program targets inner city schools and many students who will be first-generation college students, Silva said.

“Deciding to become a teacher and entering college are two big steps for some of these students,” Silva said.

The Center for Urban Education has been working with three schools: Polytechnic High School, Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School and O.D. Wyatt High School, Silva said.

“We have had a relationship with TCU for a while and have been trying to develop a program for their needs,” said Debbie Taylor, director of community involvement for Citibank.

TCU was invited to apply for a grant for the Aspiring Educators program, the application was reviewed and an appropriate amount was decided upon, Taylor said. The request was sent to headquarters in New York where a check for $25,000 was awarded to TCU, Taylor said.

“What is encouraging is the collaboration between higher education and public education,” Taylor said. “We applaud TCU in being innovative in that way.”

In a year Citibank will review the numbers and data from the program and decide if it wants to re-invite TCU to apply for the grant again, Taylor said.

“We wanted to work with TCU,” Taylor said. “They are an important institute in the community. We were happy to find a program that fits with our priorities, as well.