Future Educator grant helps UCS fill critical state need for next generation of teachers
Future Educator grant helps UCS fill critical state need for next generation of teachers
Posted on 03/26/2021
Future Educator helping Graebner Elementary student

Future educator and Henry Ford II junior Jacob Wojciechowski clearly understands the power of teachers to change their student’s lives.

“I have been so inspired by my teachers, and I want to do the same for others in the future,” Wojciechowski said. “I want to make a difference.”

Wojciechowski is already on a successful path to meet his future goal, thanks to the Future Educator program in Utica Community Schools.

To encourage more students to explore careers in teaching, the district recently received a $10,000 Future Proud Michigan Explore grant from Michigan Department of Education.

The grant will allow the district to expand interest in its Future Educator program through initiatives such as expanding education career information at the junior high courses, such as the Life Skills program.

“Our district is a shining example of how skilled and dedicated teachers can shape the very future of a community,” Interim Superintendent Robert Monroe said. “Through this grant, we want to build that next generation of educators who will inspire and positively impact the lives of students through the power of education.”

Kim Charland, the UCS director of secondary programs, said that the grant will provide funding to expand career awareness in education at the junior high level by integrating lessons in areas such as the current Life Skills program.

The funding will also allow the district to grow the program from its current 60 students, targeting increased student interest for secondary education, special education and programs that support English Language Learners.

That is good news to Graebner Elementary teacher Nicole Terenzi, who has seen first-hand how the Future Educators program has created successful teachers – including a former student who worked in her class, Ebeling Elementary fifth-grade teacher Caitlin Duffey.

She said the students learn every aspect of teaching, from classroom management, providing individual support to teaching actual class lessons.

“It really gives students a hands-on experience in what it takes to be a successful teacher,” she said.

The expanded Future Educator program also addresses a critical issue in Michigan, where a U.S. Department of Education report recently found “statewide trends may be affecting the ability of Michigan schools to fill teaching positions.” (https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED597828.pdf).

The study, released in 2019, projected an anticipated shortfall of 600 Michigan teacher by the 2022-2023 school year.

One student working to fill that critical void is Henry Ford II senior Trezeta Halaq, who will enroll next year in Oakland University’s elementary education program.

“Teachers are the ones that teach to be prepared for our future,” she said.