NEWS RELEASE, 5/10/99
One million dollar gift to UC Berkeley
will help boost teachers in urban schools
By Jose Rodriguez, University Relations
BERKELEY--The number of students pursuing careers as teachers in California's underserved inner city schools will increase, thanks to a gift of more than $1 million to the University of California, Berkeley.
The gift by Mary Jane Brinton - a loyal supporter of the campus's Graduate School of Education - will establish a model training program to attract outstanding students who will become dedicated teachers in inner city public schools. The training program will serve as a conduit for students, from their recruitment to the graduate school through their careers as teachers. The gift thus allows UC Berkeley not only to attract future educators but to support them as they become urban teachers.
"This generous donation will make a difference in the lives of countless children for many years to come," said Eugene Garcia, dean of the Graduate School of Education.
The largest gift by a single donor in the 107-year history of the education school, the funds promise to improve the practice of public school education by creating a prototype with wide applicability.
"There is nothing more important to the educational process than quality teachers," said UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl. "This gift will go a long way toward increasing the pool of talented students who become teachers and serve as role models for disadvantaged youth."
During the first three years of the program, funds will support several components. These include:
o Increased recruiting efforts by the Graduate School of Education to attract applicants committed to teaching careers in inner city schools.
o An increase of up to 40 Flanders Fellowships per year to encourage motivated students in teacher preparation programs. Established in 1984 by Brinton in honor of Ned Flanders (a distinguished educator and former visiting professor at the Graduate School of Education), these are the most prestigious awards made to graduate students in education.
o "Follow-up" awards to enable new teachers to improve conditions in their individual classrooms and participate in ongoing professional development activities.
o Assessments by the UC Berkeley Education Collaboration and Outreach Center (ECO) of the model training program's impact on the education of urban students. The center is the headquarters of the Graduate School of Education's many partnerships with Bay Area teachers, schools and districts.
As a tutor in inner city schools for more than 10 years, Brinton has gained a deep regard for public schools' efforts to achieve equal educational opportunity for young people. In making the gift, she emphasized the tremendous need to support graduates as they begin their teaching careers - a time when they are at the greatest risk of leaving the profession.
Brinton said she hopes new donors will come forward to lend their support and sustain the augmented Flanders Fellowship Program well into the future.
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