Business / Education / Virginia

McAuliffe announces Troops to Teachers grant

~ Program assists veterans to become teachers ~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced May 12 that the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has received a grant of nearly $400,000 to assist military veterans and soon-to-be veterans in becoming teachers. The grant was awarded through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES), a U.S. Department of Defense agency.

The grant will be used to establish a Troops to Teachers Center in the School of Education at the College of William & Mary. The center will provide guidance and assistance to veterans, and those who are within one year of exiting the military, who are interested in pursuing a teaching career in Virginia.

“Virginia boasts one of the largest veteran and military populations and is home to some of the nation’s most important military installations,” said Governor McAuliffe. “That is why the Troops to Teachers program is so important to the military-connected citizens of the Commonwealth. This program will help address the teacher shortage in Virginia and provide our veterans with opportunities to bring their experiences and skills into the classroom. These are the kind of innovative opportunities that will allow our nation’s heroes to succeed in the new Virginia economy.”

“The Troops to Teachers grant and Center will be a game-changer for so many veterans and soon-to-be veterans across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “As Virginia and the nation continue to experience a teacher shortage, now more than ever we need more qualified and inspired professionals in the classroom, and that is exactly what this program will help us provide to our students.”

“With their leadership skills, strong work ethic, and dedication to any mission or task, our veterans are a natural fit for teaching,” said Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John C. Harvey, Jr. “Many of our veterans experienced firsthand the benefits of great teaching in the military at every stage of their career and saw the profound difference a dedicated teacher can make in a student’s life. As a result, they would like to continue down this career path in their civilian lives. I am excited for this new Troops to Teachers Center at the College of William & Mary and for the pilot program that will afford our veterans and transitioning service members more opportunities to enter the teaching field in the Commonwealth.”

The project will work to:
· Attract and increase the number of eligible participants in the Troops to Teachers program
· Assist veterans in meeting educational and licensure requirements for transitioning into teaching careers
· Help alleviate critical teacher shortages, especially in high-needs schools
· Increase the number of veterans employed as teachers.

In addition to the statewide initiative, the College of William & Mary will conduct a pilot program offering veterans three levels of support:
· Tier 1 introduces participants to the teaching professing and includes job shadowing, career coaching, credential review, and development of an individualized plan for meeting licensure requirements.
· Tier 2 provides assistance in participant placement in the classroom and includes personalized support during the assignment from an experienced teacher coach.
· Tier 3 provides professional support to those in the classroom and includes continued access to resources and opportunities for professional growth and leadership.

“The Commonwealth’s schools educate more military children than any other state,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples. “This school year alone, more than 73,000 military-connected students are being educated in Virginia. The Troops to Teachers Center will help veterans make the transition to rewarding second careers in our classrooms, while helping Virginia meet the critical need for additional teachers.”