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Graduates Commit To Urban School Districts


Kansas City, MO – The graduates from UMKC's Institute for Urban Education have now been in the classroom for four years; though not as full-time teachers. The Institute, which opened in 2005, recruits urban high school graduates who want to become teachers. The curriculum stresses the basics:reading, science and math. The students also study social justice and multicultural concepts. The goal? That they'll be better prepared to teach effectively in urban schools. And because many students are products of urban schools, the idea is that they understand what students need. Of the 11 students who began the program four years ago, eight are graduating this year.

By the fall of 2009, there will be about 60 students in the IUE program. In exchange for a full scholarship, IUE students must maintain a 3.0 average and sign an agreement to teach in one of nine urban districts in the area for at least four years, or the scholarship becomes a loan. IUE Executive Director Edward Underwood says that programs like this can stem the tide of urban teachers who leave the profession after five years.

KCUR's Susan Wilson spoke to Dr. Underwood, as well as graduates Janita Butler, Alexandra Clayton and Destiny Byers.

This story was produced for KC Currents. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KC Currents Podcast.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Susan admits that her “first love” was radio, being an avid listener since childhood. However, she spent much of her career in mental health, healthcare administration, and sports psychology (Susan holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Bloch School of Business at UMKC.) In the meantime, Wilson satisfied her journalistic cravings by doing public speaking, providing “expert” interviews for local television, and being a guest commentator/contributor to KPRS’s morning drive time show and the teen talk show “Generation Rap.”
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