Clark University has received a three-year, $2 million grant from AmeriCorps to support the service of urban teachers in training in K-12 schools in Worcester’s Main South neighborhood.
“AmeriCorps and our Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program is a great combination,” said Thomas Del Prete, director of Clark’s Adam Institute for Urban Teaching and School Practice.
Del Prete said the MAT program “is a staple in Main South partner schools.”
According to Del Prete, Goddard, Hiatt, and Woodland elementary schools and Claremont Academy, South High School, and the University Park Campus School (UPCS) each host between four and seven MAT candidates each year. The AmeriCorps funding will support up to 32 qualified students to serve in the schools for the entire school year.
As full-time AmeriCorps members, students in Clark’s MAT program will qualify for a living stipend during their year of service, as well as a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award that can be applied toward their student loans.
“This funding will help reduce the financial need experienced by many who are considering teaching, and increase our potential to grow and diversify the pool of teacher candidates for Worcester,” says Del Prete, who is retiring in August.
It’s not uncommon for graduates of Clark’s MAT program to pursue employment opportunities within the Worcester Public Schools. According to Del Prete, more than 100 MAT alumni are educators, and close to 60 of them teach in Main South partner schools.
“This funding from AmeriCorps will not only make it possible for more of our students to experience first-hand what it’s like to teach in an urban school classroom, but also greatly benefit the lives of the schoolchildren who are enrolled in our partner schools in Main South,” said President David B. Fithian. “It’s a win-win for us all.”
AmeriCorps recently awarded nearly $60 million in funding to support 6,110 members at 23 programs working to solve challenges in Massachusetts, in areas that include childhood education, conservation, and housing.
The federal agency provides opportunities for Americans to serve their country domestically, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, improve lives and communities, and strengthen civic engagement. Each year, the agency invests more than $800 million in grants for local nonprofit, community, tribal, and state organizations.
Launched in 2012, the Adam Institute for Urban Teaching and School Practice builds on the work of Clark’s Hiatt Center for Urban Education. The institute focuses on neighborhood-based University-school partnerships and effective schooling; teacher education that prepares teachers to work with culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse students in urban settings; and educational opportunity and college-going support for neighborhood students. The neighborhood education work, particularly the success of University Park Campus School, led to Jack Adam’s 2010 bequest to create the Adam Institute.