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Sept. 10, 2004

Congressman Alexander Presents Over 2 Million in Grant Funding to ULM

The University of Louisiana at Monroe received $2,435,006 (total) in federal funding from U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, today that will go toward ULM's Louisiana Transition to Teaching Program (LA T2T). The funds were presented to President of ULM James Cofer at 9 a.m. in the ULM media room, located on the sixth floor of the library.

The LA T2T program was initiated by University of Louisiana System President Sally Clausen and the ULS Board Staff. In a partnership between McNeese, Northwestern, Nichols and ULM, the grant will provide alternate pathways to receiving teacher certification in 21 high poverty school districts in Louisiana. ULM will serve as the fiscal agent for the grant. Dr. Glenda Holland, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Teacher Certification in the College of Education and Human Development at ULM is the principal investigator for this grant.

"I thank President Cofer for administering the grant and Rep. Alexander for bringing this important funding home," UL System President Sally Clausen said. "Our biggest challenge in Louisiana is to ensure that every child has a qualified certified teacher. Although we're making great strides, there still are about 100,000 children in our state who are being left behind with teachers who are not certified in their content area. I'm proud that our four universities are playing such a major role in addressing this issue. I know we'll all learn from their example."

The Transition to Teaching Grant Program is a discretionary grant program funded under the No Child Left Behind Act. The goal of the program is to support projects that increase the number of highly-qualified teachers by recruiting and retaining highly qualified mid-career professionals (including qualified paraprofessionals), and recent college graduates who have not majored in education as teachers in high-need schools in high-need districts through the use of existing, or development and enhancement of new, alternative routes to certification.

It is a partnership of 21 school systems and four universities with existing alternative pathways to teacher certification in four areas of the state. The project proposes to attract outstanding candidates for critical shortage areas throughout the state and will coordinate statewide initiatives to recruit and train 575 new teachers selected from a broad range of highly qualified mid-career professionals and recent college graduates from diverse backgrounds. For the first year of the LA T2T program, ULM will receive $485,770.

"We are delighted to be able to work with these other fine institutions in our system," Cofer said. "The shortage of certified teachers in our state's classrooms is a problem we are all addressing through this grant. We are grateful to the UL System and their efforts to make this possible. We also want to express gratitude to Congressman Alexander for his assistance in securing this funding," Cofer said.

All eligible participants will receive training and support to teach in high-need schools in high-need LEAs for at least three years, in the areas of special education, math, science and elementary education in the northeast area of the state. Targeted recruitment campaigns allow focuses on attracting candidates to the highest need LEAs. LaT2T emphasizes teacher retention through mentoring, tracking, counseling, scholarships, and redesigned graduate programs.

"Since I was elected to Congress, I've fought hard to improve America's education system because I realize that our nation's future depends on it," Alexander said.

He added, "This program (LA T2T) will enhance our classrooms by finding mid-career professionals and entrusting them to teach our children. I represent one of the poorest congressional districts in the United States, and I know that our nation's success in the future will be impacted by how we educate our children today."

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