Faculty Awards

Florida DOE Awards $1.1 Million Grant To Volusia Education Partners

Three-year project will train teachers in core subject matter, accelerate effectiveness


Stetson University, Bethune-Cookman University, Volusia County Schools and New Teacher Center have been awarded a $1.1 million grant from the Florida Department of Education to create and launch the Volusia Center for Excellence in Education (VCEE).

“VCEE represents a new model of excellence in educating new teachers,” said Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., president of Stetson University. “There is a strong need for deeper core subject knowledge for elementary school teachers, strategies to help teachers manage their classrooms and solutions that meet the needs of diverse learners. Stetson is committed to serving those needs through this exciting new program.”

The grant was awarded after collaboration by all the partners led to a proposal for strengthening and enhancing the skills of teachers as well as their knowledge of core subject matter. In-depth coursework, labs, field experiences and clinical education training will be required for all teachers going through this program.

“This program will allow us to better serve the educational needs of the community by training elementary and secondary school teachers at the newly created VCEE,” said Edison O. Jackson, Ed.D., president of Bethune-Cookman. “At B-CU, we are committed not only to training the best teachers in the nation, but also to providing current teachers with the best educational methodologies to help them succeed in the classroom. Better teachers mean better prepared students.”

“The training our mentor teachers receive will provide them with a research-based approach to give the senior interns they are supervising the best possible on-the-job teaching experience,” said Margaret Smith, D.Ed., superintendent of schools for Volusia County. “This includes providing strategies for dealing with issues first-year teachers typically struggle with so they can be addressed before that college student graduates. This collaborative effort will develop better trained teachers who will continue to receive peer support throughout their first year teaching with Volusia County Schools.”

Both Stetson and B-CU will transition all of their preparation programs for elementary school teachers to the new VCEE model aligned to Volusia County Schools’ Florida DOE-approved instructional framework.

“We’re extremely excited about this new partnership and the difference it will make to the success of the new teachers and their students in Volusia County Schools,” said Jordan Brophy-Hilton, vice president of Program Partnerships at New Teacher Center (NTC). “This initiative will provide a seamless transition for new teachers from their university pre-service programs, to their early experiences co-teaching in the classroom working alongside a qualified teacher and on through their first two years on the job and induction period, with aligned coaching and support at every stage. The result will be improvements in both teaching quality and student learning.”

(Alex Sanchez ’12, one of Stetson’s top education graduates, is pictured above teaching in one of Volusia County’s schools.)

About New Teacher Center

New Teacher Center focuses on improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders. NTC partners with states, school districts, universities and policymakers to design and implement programs that create sustainable, high-quality mentoring and professional development; build leadership capacity; work to enhance teaching conditions; improve retention; and transform schools into vibrant learning communities where all students succeed.

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