Foundation helps establish new master's program for teachers
In North Carolina 50 percent of all teachers quit teaching within
the first five years of their careers. With a gift from the Jessie
Ball duPont Fund, the School of Education intends to reduce that number.
The duPont Fund has given a grant of $236,500 to support the Master's
Degree for Experienced Teachers program in the School of Education
over the next three years.
The program is the cornerstone of the Carolina Teaching Network, an
innovative approach that helps K-12 teachers get their master's degree
without having to leave their current teaching positions. Teachers
gather at off-campus meeting places near their communities, schools
and homes. Professors and teaching assistants work with experienced
teachers over time on topics that they and their school district have
designated as important to the development of their school.
Madeleine Grumet, dean of the School of Education, envisions a return
to the era when the study of education was a group project, shared
by a community of parents, teachers and administrators to help a community
The program brings teachers in the same school together for instruction
and anticipates that those teachers will work together in research
teams to address problems they confront in the classroom.
"What the master's for experienced teachers gave us was an opportunity
to work with people, some of whom have taught four years, some of
whom have taught 28 years," Grumet said. "These teachers
have real commitments to their schools, to school communities and
to other teachers in their program."
"This grant meets our goal of encouraging universities to bring
their resources to bear on community issues," said Sherry Magill,
president of the duPont Fund. "It also reflects our commitment
to teacher quality and providing the absolute best instruction for
our children. In general, teachers are not supported as well as they
should be by school systems or the public at large. They deserve quality
professional development, and public school children deserve the best
teachers have to offer. The UNC program provides an unique opportunity
in that it brings teachers into relationship with one another in an
effort to meet tough classroom challenges, and to provide excellent
instruction for kids."
Magill expressed her admiration for the commitment and optimism of
faculty members at the School of Education, particularly Madeleine
Grumet, dean of the school, and professor Bill Burke, who recently
retired after 28 years at the school "They never talk about barriers,"
said Magill. "They only talk about solutions to strengthen the
network of support for teachers."
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund was created in 1976 by the bequest of
Jessie Ball duPont, the wife of industrialist Alfred I. duPont. The
fund supports programs and institutions, primarily in the South, in
which Jessie Ball duPont took a keen interest.
-Kristina Casto '01