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To produce more teachers, Curry School ups enrollment and adds options for undergraduates

By Ida Lee Wootten

Starting this academic year, the Curry School of Education will increase the number of undergraduate students ac- cepted into its teacher-preparation program. It also will make it easier for students in fields where there is critical need for teachers to enter the program later in their undergraduate careers.

"After talking to school superintendents about their needs, we decided to try to double the number of students admitted into the program," said Curry School dean David W. Breneman.

The school, which graduated 86 students in its five-year teacher-preparation program this spring, will have 117 students in next year's graduating class and hopes the 2003 class will reach 165. In areas where there is unusually high demand for teachers, such as in special education and foreign languages, the school also plans to increase the number of students significantly.

To further recruit undergraduates interested in teaching in areas where there is the greatest demand, such as mathematics, science and foreign languages, the school, for the first time this coming academic year, will allow students to apply to its teacher-preparation program as late as their third year at U.Va. This is a departure from encouraging only students in their first or second years to enter the school's teacher-preparation program.

"Students who apply to the Curry School at the end of their third year could start their fourth year of the teacher-preparation program in the fall and graduate on time in five years, earning both bachelor's and master's degrees," said Sandra B. Cohen, director of the school's teacher-education program.

To accommodate the increased enrollment, the school will add faculty, enlarge the number of students in classes and add sections of popular courses.

One factor the school had to consider in increasing class size was finding additional locations for placing student teachers. To handle the increasing number of student teachers, Curry administrators will start placing students in schools in Hanover County this fall. Placements next year may include Northern Virginia schools.

"We can't grow unless we change the field component of the program. We are exploring a number of new ideas regarding student-teacher placement," Cohen said.

 


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