Voorhees College joins ten other institutions as a 2020 national awardee of the Teacher Quality Partnership grant (TQP) competition funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
The institution was awarded $6,047,542.00 for five years to execute V-Net: Voorhees Network for Enhanced Teaching. Under TQP, the Department of Education announced awards totaling $7.3 million to support innovative teacher preparation models that prepare prospective and new teachers to serve students in high-need schools.
According to the Department of Education, the purpose of the program is to improve student achievement, elevate the quality of the teacher workforce by enhancing preparation of prospective teachers and professional development of new teachers, and recruit highly qualified individuals into the teacher workforce.
Dr. W. Franklin Evans, Voorhees ninth president and CEO said Voorhees College continues to be true to its mission. “We aim to produce highly qualified graduates who coalesce intellect and faith in pursuit of life-long learning, healthy living, the betterment of society, and an abiding faith in God,” Evans said. “Having qualified faculty talent is essential to helping students succeed in and out of the classroom.”
He added, “The TQP Grant from the Department of Education is indicative of the institution’s strategic goal of achieving academic excellence and distinction.”
Dr. Tywana Chenault-Hemby, co-project director and chairperson of the Department of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences said V-NET will empower novice and experienced teachers to enter classrooms as equity leaders at all levels of education. “They will be prepared to break down barriers that create equity gaps and achievement gaps in teaching and learning.”
She added, “Participating V-NET educators will develop the insight and skill to differentiate instruction, not just as a strategy for best practice, but as a tool to ensure that every student is equipped with the support they need to achieve and grow, socially and academically.”
Dr. Ronnie Hopkins, co-project director and provost/vice president for academic affairs, said V-NET will create, implement, and expand an alternative, non-traditional preparation and teacher certification residency program. “The program will be rooted in the tenets of improvement science and equity to attract up to 20 (per cohort) midcareer professionals from Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and critical shortage fields, with the skill-set to use STEM and computer science as tools to advance equity, raise student achievement, accelerate learning and promote continuous and sustainable academic growth.”
V-NET teachers will employ the tenets of improvement science: (a) identifying problems of practice; b) conducting root-cause analysis; c) forming a hypothesis and developing a plan of action; d) course-correcting, if needed; e) solving problems of practice; and f) scaling up results – combined with 21st century learning skills – to transform underperforming schools in our partner South Carolina districts, scaling a new teacher training model that can efficiently and effectively place teachers in critical subject.