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September 30, 2019
This semester, 10 Grand Valley State University undergraduate students who are studying to become teachers will be completing their student teaching requirements at a GVSU-authorized charter school in Detroit.
Michael Cousins, manager of communications at the GVSU Charter Schools Office, said the program was first introduced in fall 2016, and the first GVSU students were placed in schools in the winter semester.
Those who participate in the program may receive the Detroit Charter School Student Teaching Scholarship, which provides full tuition coverage for required courses taken that semester. This semester alone, the scholarship will cover approximately $65,000 in tuition and additional fees.
“This program came about because the Charter Schools Office and the College of Education were looking at the current education landscape at the time back in 2014, and looking at some kind of large-scale issues that maybe our partnerships could tackle,” Cousins said. “One of them was the teacher shortage in Michigan.”
Cousins said one goal of the program is to combat the state-wide teacher shortage by giving students studying to become educators a chance to experience working in an urban setting at the very beginning of their careers.
“We can give students who are planning to be educators an opportunity to learn and work in a classroom setting, preparing them for any type of classroom setting,” Cousins said. “That way, if they go into an urban setting, they have experienced it. It also gives schools the opportunity to see that student-teacher doing really well, so maybe they want to have this person on their staff.”
Currently, GVSU authorizes over 70 K-12 charter schools in Michigan and 28 of them are located in Detroit.
GVSU student Emily Glaser is student-teaching in a first grade classroom at Detroit Merit Academy. Glaser said that student teaching on the east side of Michigan wasn’t her original plan, but she has enjoyed the experience so far.
“Teaching here has really made me love this side of the state,” Glaser said. “I really love working with the teachers here and it’s been probably one of the best work environments I’ve been a part of.”