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Xcel Energy gives grant to WiTEACH

October 8, 2009

In July, the Wisconsin Teacher Education Leadership Program (WiTEACH) at UW-River Falls received a $2,000 grant from the Xcel Energy Foundation.

“The WiTEACH Leadership Program is a holistic student development program designed as a response to the national and local needs and challenges in both the recruitment and retention of talented and well-trained Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, (STEM)-focused K-12 teacher candidates, and candidates from diverse populations, who will diligently serve the nation’s schools with the most need,” according to the Web site.

“The College of Education and Professional Studies enrolls more than 1,400 students altogether and 1,222 teacher education students… in 2007-08, only 55 Teacher Education students were from historically underrepresented/diverse populations-fewer than 5 percent,” according to the program summary.

The grant was turned into a scholarship for four College of Education and Professional Studies (COEPS) students, totaling $500 for each student.

Dr. Genella Stubrud, a faculty member at UWRF who created the WiTEACH program, was brought to UWRF last year to lead a Wisconsin statewide initiative to promote the education of future teachers in the high demand fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Stubrud wrote the grant that the Xcel Energy Foundation donated.

“We use the $2,000 to provide four students who are going through the program, [with] $500 [each],” Stubrud said.

The students are to remain anonymous. All four will be graduating this year. Two of the students are studying to be high school math teachers, one a high school broad field science major and the other an elementary education major focusing on middle school math, Stubrud said.

The grant only applies to this year, but Stubrud hopes to receive it again in the following years.

“We have to apply every year,” Stubrud said. “[In] these economic times, it’s tough. [It’s been] suggested we make some adjustments to our applications. [But] $10,000 would be able to provide more money to more students,” Stubrud said.

Stubrud is in charge of applying for all grants for the COEPS.

“Most of the money I apply for is to provide scholarships for students to teach in a high demand school,” Stubrud said.

The WiTEACH Web site explains that high demand schools are “all areas of K-12 education in Wisconsin [where] the supply of teachers is far less than the demand.”

Currently, there are many grant requests out.

“[There are] $2 million in grant applications out right now.” Stubrud said. “It only takes one to say ‘yes.’”

WiTEACH is currently accepting scholarship applications for the spring. A link is available on WiTEACH’s homepage: www.uwrf.edu/ted/witeach.html.