Schools seeking future teachers

Published 10:14 pm Friday, February 12, 2010

Staff writer

Beaufort County Schools is accepting applications for a scholarship program that, educators hope, will bring Beaufort County students back to teach in county schools.
The Beaufort County Schools Teaching Scholars Program is intended to help the schools “grow its own” teacher pool by helping to pay for the education of future teachers who promise to return to teach in the local school system for each year of the scholarship, said Patrick Abele, executive director for learning services for Beaufort County Schools.
“It certainly has the potential to help our best and brightest students not only go into teaching but also to come back to Beaufort County to teach,” Abele said in an interview.
High-school seniors — those in the Beaufort County school system — who are preparing to pursue education degrees are eligible to apply to receive one of three scholarships in amounts up to $6,000 per year for four years.
This is the third year of the scholarship program which has, to date, awarded six scholarships and $18,000 in funds to students who are now college freshmen and sophomores to help them complete their education degrees, Abele said.
When fully implemented, the program will provide scholarships to 12 students each year, he said.
The Beaufort County Schools Teaching Scholarship Program is modeled after the North Carolina Teaching Fellowship Program. Established in 1986, the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program is the most ambitious teacher recruitment program in the nation, according to state officials. 
It was developed by the Public School Forum of North Carolina, a nonprofit partnership of business, educational and political leaders from throughout North Carolina. It provides about 500 scholarships to future teachers each year.
To be considered for a Beaufort County Teaching Scholars scholarship, students must complete an application, available from their high-school guidance counselors or on the Beaufort County Schools Web site and participate in an interview conducted by a committee comprised of members of the Beaufort County Board of Education.
Students will be ranked on the basis of grade-point average, class rank, references and extra-curricular activities, including work or volunteer experience, among other factors.
Preference will be given to students seeking to teach in the fields of exceptional children, English as a second language, math or science, Abele said.
Scholarship recipients will be obligated to return to Beaufort County to teach for one year of service for each year they receive scholarship funds.
The application deadline is March 12. Interviews are scheduled to begin March 30.
For more information about the program, interested persons may contact Nicole Howard, student-services director for the Beaufort County Schools at 252-946-6593.