It was announced Sept. 6 that the University of Utah's American Indian Teacher Training Program (AITTP) has been awarded two grants, totaling over $2 million, by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Indian Education.
The grant money will be used to continue the university's successful teacher training program within the university's Center for the Study of Empowered Students of Color.
One grant, totaling $1,062,385, will allow students to be trained as teachers in the areas of math and science. The other grant, a total of $983,704, will enable teacher aides to train to become certified teachers.
Both grants focus on teaching American Indian or Alaska Native students to become teachers. AITTP is now actively recruiting students for the 2007 - 2008 school year.
In the last three years, the American Indian Teacher Training Program has successfully graduated three student cohorts, a total of 30 students, who have returned to their American Indian communities to teach or serve as counselors in the schools.
Currently 11 more AITTP students are on track to graduate in the spring of 2008.
According to Gwendolyn Spotted Elk Mudrow, principal investigator for the grants, "Statistics reveal that K-12 schools are currently failing to adequately teach American Indian students in math and science. One of the new grants will allow AITTP to train American Indian students to teach these subjects. These teachers will then return to schools in their own communities."
Davina Spotted Elk, Project Director, AITTP Aide to Teacher Cohort, relates that there are many American Indians who have worked in the schools in their communities.
"The new AITTP Aide to Teacher grant will give the aides the opportunity to become teachers. The Aide to Teacher Cohort is a distance education program that will allow students to earn a degree while remaining at home in their communities."
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Indian Education stipulates that the Title VII grant money be used to prepare undergraduate students to become instructors, especially in the disciplines of math, science and reading.
The AITTP training grants include tuition, book allowance, use of a laptop computer, a monthly stipend to be used for living expenses and more.
Upon completion of AITTP, participants will be required to give what the government calls "a service payback" in one of the American Indian or Alaska Native communities for at least two years.
The U of U AITTP draws from the five tribes in Utah - the Utes, Navajos, Goshutes, Paiutes and Western Shoshones. However, recipients don't necessarily need to be from Utah or from one of these tribes.
According to U.S. Department of Education guidelines, applicants to the AITTP must be American Indian or Alaska Native. To apply please contact Gwendolyn Spotted Elk Mudrow by calling (801) 581-5177 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Davina Spotted Elk at (801) 581-4976 or e-mail email@example.com.
Applications are accepted on a continuing basis.