Washington College establishes scholarship program for Kent, QA’s students interested in a teaching career

CHESTERTOWN — Washington College, in partnership with Kent County High School and Queen Anne’s County’s two public high schools, has established a scholarship program aimed at encouraging more Eastern Shore students to pursue a career in education.

The college will award six scholarships annually, three to KCHS graduates and a total of three to graduates of the public high schools in Queen Anne’s County. The scholarships will cover full tuition, fees, room and board.

The scholarships have an educational value of more than $280,000 for four years per student awarded, according to a news release.

Students can apply now as scholarships will be available for the 2024-25 academic year.

With a nationwide teacher shortage, leaders in the Washington College Department of Education saw an opportunity to capitalize on existing endowment and state-provided funds to increase the number of education majors at the college while strengthening existing relationships with both Kent County and Queen Anne’s County public school systems, according to the news release.

Many Washington College students conduct their student teaching in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties.

According to the news release, 100%  of Washington College education graduates since 2018 have obtained full-time employment in the field.

“Made possible by the recent $54.7 million gift from the Hodson Trust to Washington College, as well as state funds provided by Teaching Fellows for Maryland, and the policies set forth by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the College is excited to provide this opportunity to students in our immediate community,” Johnnie Johnson, vice president for enrollment management, said in the news release.

He added: “The call to teach is an admirable one, and close to the heart of our mission as a liberal arts college. We are happy to remove economic barriers and enable access to a great education while providing a path to a career in teaching to our local students who heed that call.”

With ample opportunities to gain experience and see the impact of skilled teachers in K-12 classrooms throughout their studies, students enrolled with Washington College’s Department of Education are immersed in a highly nurturing and personalized environment that promises intellectual rigor within a classic liberal arts experience, the news release states.

Students may choose an interdisciplinary major in human development or select one of the program’s two minors in either education or museum, field and community education studies.

Two teacher certification programs also are available.

Notably, the Environmental Science teaching certificate is not offered at any other college in Maryland.

“Our students have had such positive experiences working as student teachers in Kent and Queen Anne’s County classrooms,” Washington College Department of Education Chair Sara Clarke-De Reza said in the news release.

“Working in the regional school systems has also given us great insight into the need to train and retain good teachers throughout our community and to better highlight the career paths open to graduates with an education degree or minor,” she said. “It made sense to find a way to utilize the many financial resources currently available to encourage more local high schoolers to pursue a career in the field.”

Because of its location, Washington College offers students the opportunity to experience a wide range of informal learning environments and consider what each has to offer to their understanding of what it means to teach and learn in places other than school.

Clarke-De Reza also is the director of the Museum, Field and Community Education Program, which actively engages students throughout the Eastern Shore with environment, history and arts organizations that provide opportunities to see how small organizations undertake the work of educating the public.

The college also has access to large-scale museum, field and community learning experiences at nationally regarded locations in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other regional cities, giving its students access to top tier internships and field work opportunities.

To apply for the TEACH Maryland scholarship at Washington College, students must be in their senior year of high school (or have equivalent status) at a public school in Kent or Queen Anne’s; be on the path to satisfying the requirements for graduation and earning a diploma; and have achieved an overall grade point average of 3.3 at the time of application.

The scholarship is offered in conjunction with the Teaching Fellows for Maryland program.

Applicants, upon completion of their studies for at least four years, must agree to work as a public school or public prekindergarten teacher at schools in the state where at least 50% of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Interested students should contact their college counselors at their respective high schools or reach out to the Washington College Office of Admissions at wc_admissions@washcoll.edu.

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