Aid to help city schools

Scholarships offered to entice students to teach in Baltimore

April 15, 1999|By Liz Bowie | Liz Bowie,SUN STAFF

When Maryland's private colleges went knocking on the door of St. Paul Cos. for a donation this year, the Minnesota-based company came up with an idea that would help not only college students but city schoolchildren as well.

St. Paul and two other companies with offices in Baltimore, BT Alex. Brown Inc. and First Union, will announce today a commitment to underwrite at least nine scholarships and summer stipends for students who are interested in teaching in Baltimore's public schools.

With city schools on a desperate search for teachers this year, the scholarship is one way for them to attract some of the state's top college students to teaching careers in a school system with the greatest need.

FOR THE RECORD - In an article in Thursday's editions about a scholarship program for aspiring teachers, it was incorrectly reported that First Union was one of three businesses to underwrite the program. In fact, First National Bank of Maryland, which is changing its name to Allfirst Financial Inc. on June 28, contributed $15,000 to underwrite the $7,500 college scholarships and summer teaching internships. The Sun regrets the errors.

The idea is from a similar program started by St. Paul Cos. in its hometown of St. Paul, Minn., but it precisely fits the needs of Baltimore schools. Last year, the school system hired 1,000 teachers. Sixty percent weren't fully certified.

"The scholarships are a dazzling example of the partnership between the corporate community, the academic community and Baltimore City," said Goucher College President Judy Jolley Mohraz. "Clearly, the St. Paul Cos. has come in to support undergraduate education and K through 12 in a remarkable way. We are all excited and indebted."

The Urban Teaching Scholarship Program will be run by the Independent College Fund of Maryland, a nonprofit fund that has channeled corporate donations to the state's private colleges and universities for several decades.

The fund will seek applications from students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and students of color for the $7,500 scholarships for college juniors and seniors, said Townsend Hoen, executive director of the fund. Because colleges often reduce financial aid to a student when the student receives a new scholarship, St. Paul Cos. is designating its donation to relieve a student's loan debt. The effect will be to reduce a student's cost rather than a college's.

"This is an extremely thoughtful way of giving a scholarship," said Hoen.

In addition to the scholarship, each student will get a $4,000 summer stipend for student teaching in city summer schools. The fund was concerned that students receive hands-on experience in city classrooms before applying for jobs. BT Alex. Brown agreed to fund the summer stipends. First Union has given $15,000 toward the program as well, Hoen said.

The students will do their summer internships at the same three city schools, where they will have mentors and support.

While the scholarships will be awarded based, in part, on students' interest in teaching in Baltimore's schools, graduates will not be required to teach in the city, Hoen said.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for Baltimore city schools to obtain nine bright students who demonstrate high performance standards and who are interested in teaching in the Baltimore city schools," said city schools' Chief Executive Officer Robert Booker.

Pub Date: 4/15/99

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