Grants to assist future teachers

Graduates of the city schools are preferred, but others are also considered.
& lt;a & gt;By PETER MILLIKEN & lt;/a & gt;
YOUNGSTOWN -- Graduates of the city's public schools who decide to major in education and teach for two years in those schools after finishing college can apply for special incentive scholarships.
The scholarships, which cover one's junior and senior years of college, were created by the city school board last January to remedy a teacher shortage, especially in urban schools.
The scholarships for future teachers are offered under two grant programs, one for members of minority groups and the other for the general population.
"The district would like to attract more minority candidates to the teaching profession, and the district would like to attract candidates altogether, particularly local candidates, into the teaching profession in the Youngstown City School District," said Superintendent Benjamin McGee.
"We're specifically interested in students who are majoring in math, science or special education," where shortages are especially acute, he said, adding that the scholarships aren't limited to those areas. Candidates must begin their junior years in college with a grade-point average of at least 2.7.
For this year
Five minority scholarship recipients, all attending Youngstown State University, have already been designated this year, renewable for one year. Their names, high schools, and scholarship amounts are:
UBarbara Curd, Ursuline, $2,000.
UVivian Haley, Shaw High School, East Cleveland, $3,000.
UAda Hill, GED, a district employee, $3,000.
UBrent McCorvey, LaBrae High School, $6,000.
UMary McQueen, South High School, $3,000.
The awards, which can be up to $10,000 for tuition, come from interest income from $3.5 million derived from the sale of the school district's Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield stock. The district received Anthem stock when Anthem became a publicly-traded corporation but could not continue to own the shares because school boards are legally forbidden to own stock. Anthem is the health insurer for board employees.
The board of education passed a resolution earlier this month clarifying that the minority scholarship, like the other teaching scholarship, was a grant program, not a loan program.
Teaching pool
Although graduates of the city schools are preferred, scholarships may also be awarded in both programs to those who aren't graduates of the city schools, if that's necessary to ensure an adequate teaching pool in certain subjects, said M. Mike McNair, the board's supervisor of community relations and public information.
"Now the scholarships mirror one another in terms of what criteria the students have to meet and what the expectations are," McGee said of the two programs.
The district is required by its contract with the Youngstown Education Association, the union representing its teachers, to operate a scholarship and loan program for minority graduates of the school district who agree to teach in the system.
"We're underrepresented in terms of minority teachers in the district," McGee said.
McNair concluded: "We lose a lot of our talent to other metropolitan areas. We hear people all the time talking about our children leaving the area. This is an opportunity to keep our best and brightest right here in the Valley."

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