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Project aims to produce more Hispanic teachers

Texas Woman’s University will use a $500,000 federal grant to recruit and educate more Hispanics as teachers to address teacher shortages in the state. The university is partnering with Tarrant County College District and other community colleges to create a path for teacher candidates to transfer from a two-year school to complete their bachelor’s degree at TWU.

TWU associate professors Rebecca Fredrickson, Ed.D., and Sarah McMahan, Ph.D., were awarded a Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program grant for Project HELP (Hispanic Educators Leading the Profession), which will provide scholarships for 60 students, helping to cover the tuition and fees of their final four semesters at TWU.

McMahan said they chose to collaborate with TCCD because it is a large community college district in the region that, like TWU, is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

Shereah Taylor, Ed.D., an associate professor of teacher education at TCCD, said the project will strengthen the educator pipeline in Texas while addressing teacher shortages.

“A teacher in a classroom who looks like the students they serve will provide an opportunity for students, families and the community to see the importance of learning and where education can take you,” Taylor said.

A number of studies show that Hispanic students benefit academically from having Hispanic teachers, but while the majority of students in Texas are Hispanic, most teachers are white.

According to Fredrickson, cost is a major barrier to becoming a teacher today.

“State fees for certification exams are almost $500, which they have to pay up front,” she said. Fredrickson added that working outside of student teaching is difficult, as “the clinical student teaching experience in and of itself is a full-time job.

“It’s brutally cost-prohibitive,” she said. “This grant program will help them cross the finish line.”

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By Karen Garcia
Marketing & Communication
kgarcia@twu.edu