Published on Tue., January 19, 2021

An existing partnership between the University of Lynchburg, Central Virginia Community College, and Lynchburg City Schools is getting new attention. This month, Lynchburg President Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar joined CVCC President Dr. John Capps, LCS Superintendent Dr. Crystal Edwards, and the Beacon of Hope’s Laura Lacy Hamilton in announcing a recommitment to their “Grow Your Own Teachers” program.

“This is a wonderful example of the University working together with city schools and our local community college to create opportunities to educate tomorrow’s teachers,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “However, we recognized that we need to strengthen and deepen our focus on this important initiative.”

Grow Your Own Teachers aims to attract quality students into teaching while elevating the teaching profession. To participate in the program, LCS students must apply, and be admitted, to both CVCC and the University of Lynchburg. Students will be dually enrolled and have an advisor at both institutions.

Through the efforts of Beacon of Hope, which provides academic support, college preparation, and scholarships, LCS students are able to attend CVCC for free.

“Thanks to the Stay Close, Go Far scholarship, LCS students who attend CVCC enjoy an extraordinary opportunity to pursue a higher education and a career in teaching — at little to no cost,” Capps said. “It’s an amazing resource they should take advantage of.”

Once enrolled at CVCC, students follow clear guidelines:

  • Students will follow what is called a Guided Pathway of courses designed to meet Virginia licensure regulations. The Guided Pathway will also help students complete their degree in four years. CVCC faculty and staff have identified courses within their curriculum, and Virginia state teaching competencies have been included in those courses.
  • During their four semesters at CVCC, dually enrolled students will take selected required education courses at the University of Lynchburg.
  • Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 to remain in the program and must take and pass all assessments required by the Virginia Department of Education for licensure.

Upon graduation from CVCC, students will continue their education at the University of Lynchburg, where they will receive a significant financial package.

  • Students seeking licensure in a secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field will be eligible to apply for additional assistance through a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Scholarship Program.
  • Students will complete their coursework, including field experiences and student teaching, at the University of Lynchburg.
  • Most field experiences and all student teaching will occur in the city schools under the supervision of cooperating teachers approved by the school division and the University.

“While there is no requirement to return to Lynchburg City Schools to teach, the intent of this initiative is to identify city students who want to return to the school division and teach after graduation,” Edwards said. “This really is a unique initiative for city students, given the involvement of Beacon of Hope.”

Partnerships between the University of Lynchburg and other area school divisions are currently under revision and will be announced soon.

To learn more about the Grow Your Own Teachers program and to apply, click here.

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