This fall, a select group of students studying education at UTC have an opportunity for enhanced training, a guaranteed job after graduation and a payout to the tune of $20,000.
Chattanooga Teaching Fellows is a new program strengthening partnerships between UTC, Lee University and Hamilton County with two end goals: invigorate the pipeline of teachers into local schools and boost K-12 education for area students.
Participating teacher candidates from UTC and Lee will have extra training and experience in Hamilton County Title I schools starting their junior year. Startup funding for Chattanooga Teaching Fellows comes from the Smart City Venture Fund, a collaborative social investment fund with ties to Chattanooga’s Benwood Foundation.
“We are proud to be able to provide initial support for Chattanooga Teaching Fellows at UTC and Lee University,” says Sarah Morgan, Benwood Foundation president.
“Great teachers are at the heart of great public schools. We believe that Chattanooga Teaching Fellows will help to ensure that the best and brightest from these local institutions are committed to teaching in Hamilton County, in the schools that need them most.”
Participation in the program requires a four-year commitment to teaching in Hamilton County after students graduate.
“They [participants] are going to be going through our program like everyone else,” says Dr. Renee Murley, director of UTC’s School of Education.
But the difference, Murley says, is that, during their junior and senior years, the students’ field experiences—their clinicals and residencies in local schools—will be targeted specifically to Title I, which often are urban schools in the county. For their teaching residencies, students will be paired with high-performing mentor teachers.
A stipend of $20,000 will be paid to the students during the two-year program. Additional summer training will prepare them for needs that are unique to their future classrooms and students, Murley says.
“We have worked over the past couple of years to strengthen and build relationships with the Hamilton County school system and ensure that what we’re doing here meets their needs,” she says.
All the research points to these collaborations as solutions for increasing K-12 education, Murley says.
“We have to prepare teachers in direct response with district needs. So, if they’re our primary partner, if they’re where our students are going to work, then we have to build those relationships.”
The Smart City Venture Fund
The Smart City Venture Fund (SCVF) is a collaborative social investment fund aligned around the core strategies and goals laid out through the work of Chattanooga 2.0. SCVF is focused on providing strategic support for high-impact initiatives that will improve the community’s educational continuum, from cradle to career.
Local and national funding partners, include the Benwood Foundation, SCORE Tennessee Education Innovation Fund, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, Footprint Foundation, Hamico Foundation, Maclellan Foundations and the Tucker Foundation.