Addressing the deficit in minority teachers

Penn State Brandywine is partnering with the Philadelphia Academies Inc. through its Academy of Urban Education program to help high school students from school districts in Philadelphia become teachers.

“Minority teachers are underrepresented in our nation’s schools,” said Patricia Van Leuvan, associate professor of education at the campus. “This partnership promises to address the minority teacher deficit.”

Since 2004, Van Leuvan has sponsored high school juniors and seniors to visit Penn State and attend presentations of math and science lessons given by Penn State education majors. “The goal of the visits is to foster the students’ interests in teaching by allowing them to participate in college classroom demonstration activities designed for elementary school classrooms,” said Van Leuvan.

“All of the students who graduate from the academy and who go on to get their teacher certification are awarded a job guarantee with the School District of Philadelphia once they have completed all of their necessary state requirements,” said Michael Brooks, the academy’s resource manager.

In the fall, Van Leuvan arranges for the high school students to practice with math education materials -- such as geoboards, Cuisenaire rods, pattern blocks and snap cubes -- during their visits to Penn State. In addition, she is developing a program to help the high school students apply the skills they learn while at Penn State to the elementary school children that they tutor.

This article is from the spring issue of Penn State Outreach magazine.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010