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To Produce More Teachers, U.Va. School Increases Enrollment And Options For Undergraduates

August 15, 2000 -- Starting this academic year, the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education will increase the number of undergraduate students accepted 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, hopes to have 165 students in its 2003 class, an increase of nearly 92 percent over the 2000 class. Next year’s class will have 117 students, which represents a 36 percent increase over the 2000 class size. The size of the 2002 class is 144 students.

In areas where there is unusually high demand for teachers, such as in special education and foreign languages, the Curry School hopes to increase the number of students significantly. For example, 15 students in the 2000 class concentrated in special education; the school hopes to have 30 students by 2003. Six specialized in foreign languages this year; the school hopes to have 12 by 2003.

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 only encouraging 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 critical factor the school had to consider in increasing class size was finding additional locations for placing student teachers. Because students live in the Charlottesville area, they want student-teacher placement in nearby schools. 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.

Founded in 1905, the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education is nationally recognized for its innovative degree programs and faculty expertise. The centerpiece of the school’s mission in improving the quality of teachers in the nation is its five-year teacher-education program that combines a strong academic focus with professional training.

Information about Curry programs can be obtained by calling the school’s admissions office at (804) 924-3334 or accessing the web site,

Contact: Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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