Newman University partners with Wichita Public Schools to produce local teachers

Feb 17, 2010

Newman University and Wichita Public Schools officials have announced a partnership designed to create more teachers for the school district. The partnership includes scholarship programs offered by Newman and the Wichita Public Schools to help students in the school system’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program succeed, earn a college degree, then return to local classrooms as teachers.

Under the partnership, called the AVID Future Teacher Scholarship Program, qualified students in the AVID program will receive a $3,000 scholarship per year from Newman University and a $1,650 scholarship per year from the Wichita Public Schools to earn their teaching degrees at Newman. In turn, students will help in the AVID tutoring program for 60 hours per academic year, and agree to teach one year in the school district for each year they receive tuition assistance.

“This collaboration is a means to strengthen both Newman University and the AVID students from Wichita Public Schools’ high schools,” said Newman Dean of Admissions John Clayton and the Wichita Public Schools Director of Licensed Personnel Dr. Shelly Martin in a joint statement. “Newman University is known for its excellence in teacher and administrator preparation while attending to the whole person – spiritually and socially as well as academically. The AVID programs prepare students for the rigors of college expectations. It’s a very beneficial agreement for everyone involved.”

AVID is a national program that was started in the Wichita Public Schools system in 2001 at North High School. The program is based on the principle that when held to high standards and provided academic and social support, students can rise to the challenge of rigorous and college-prep coursework. Designed primarily for minority and least-served students who are “in the middle” scholastically, AVID students are enrolled in Honors and AP courses and provided support inĀ an academic elective class taught by an AVID trained teacher.

The program has two options, one for students who plan to participate in the program for four years, and one for two years. It has been very successful and is now in seven comprehensive high schools and 11 middle schools, with plans to expand it to three more middle schools in the 2010-2011 school year. With the class of 2009, the Wichita Public Schools has graduated 186 AVID students.

To be eligible for the program, students must take an AVID elective, actively participate in weekly tutorials, maintain GPA, attendance and behavior requirements, and meet community service requirements. Students from schools across the district have performed work ranging from fundraising for local service agencies and helping on restoration projects to working with special-need students and providing no-cost babysitting service during parents meetings.

Clayton noted that Newman and the public schools AVID programs have worked together over the past year to help students expand their awareness of private higher education. Newman has had many student groups visit campus, Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D. has spoken in North High School AVID classes, and the university worked to enroll three AVID students at Newman for the 2009-2010 academic year.

The Wichita Public Schools’ AVID program, staff, and students have received many accolades. North High School and Pleasant Valley Middle School are National AVID Demonstration sites. The schools have also been named two of AVID’s “Five Schoolwide Superstars,” and are now helping AVID with a nationwide pilot program for a coaching tool to be used for schoolwide college readiness. In addition, several AVID students have been singled out for various honors, including one student who was named to the Kansas State Teacher of the Year selection committee. AVID graduates have also been awarded a variety of scholarships from private companies and foundations, and been accepted into universities in several states and in Japan.

For more information about Newman University and the AVID Future Teacher Scholarship Program, contact Dean of Admissions John Clayton at 316-942-4291, ext. 2233 or [email protected]. For more information about the AVID program in the Wichita Public Schools, contact Director of Licensed Personnel Dr. Shelly Martin at 973-4615.