Seeking Non-Education Candidates With a Passion for Teaching

The University of West Alabama is launching Project REACh, a program ideal for those with a bachelor’s degree without teaching certification, but who are interested in improving children’s futures through education. Project REACh* is a teacher residency program that aims to improve the critical teacher shortage in high-need schools in Alabama. The program was developed to address challenges such as increasing teacher turnover, teaching outside of qualified content areas and low student achievement in three Alabama counties.

Qualifying teacher residents will receive a $45,000 stipend during the residency, which funds the cost of living in one of three school districts as they take part in an immersive learning experience. Find out more about this exciting opportunity below.

Get Paid While Earning Your Credentials

Project REACh not only provides a $45,000 stipend to teacher residents, it also incorporates an M.Ed. degree, a rigorous professional development training component and an induction program thereafter, which supports teachers in their new roles. Based on content areas of interest, the Master of Science in Education degree can include an emphasis in one of the following areas:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English Language Arts Education
  • History Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Science Education
  • Special Education

Teaching residents will gain content knowledge and teaching experience coupled with inquiry-based instruction methods.

Earn Your M.Ed. in 14 Months

As a teacher resident in Project REACh, you’ll take rigorous coursework that enables you to complete your M.Ed. online in just 14 months. After the 14-month residency and completing all certification requirements, you must commit to teaching within an identified high-need school district for a total of 3 years (preferably, at the same school where you completed your residency). With the support of Project REACh leadership, you’ll be able to combine your content area knowledge and pedagogy skills in a position where you’ll make an immediate impact.

Reduce Achievement Gaps for K–12 Students

Project REACh directly responds to research that determined the needs of under-performing schools in Alabama counties that identified as Opportunity Zones. Based on an assessment of performance and needs at Alabama schools, Project REACh ranked each schools’ progress on many factors, including:

  • Teacher certification
  • The persistence of teachers
  • Employment retention
  • Student learning
  • Access to and adequacy of teaching/learning resources

Based on an analysis of the compiled data, Project REACh identified three counties in Alabama that exhibit an urgent need for larger numbers of highly qualified teachers:

  • Mobile County: In the 10 schools participating in Project REACh from Mobile County, over 90% of the student body comes from low-income families.
  • Tuscaloosa County: In the 3 participating schools from Tuscaloosa County, roughly 70-90% of students are both reading non-proficient and economically disadvantaged.
  • Sumter County: The University Charter School in Sumter County was identified as a key Opportunity Zone.

Project REACh will educate teacher residents with a curriculum that emphasizes diversity and culturally relevant pedagogy particularly relative to the under-performing populations identified. Ultimately, Project REACh aims to improve students’ achievements in Alabama schools by enhancing the geographic area with qualified educators.

More Information About Project REACh

Activities

Project REACh equips teacher residents with a toolbox of strategies aimed at serving all students in high-need schools. As a teacher resident, you’ll take part in:

  • Seminars: Seminars are focused on strategies for working responsively with all children, developing community partnerships and reflecting on the Project REACh experience.
  • Workshops: Professional development workshops are a mix of skills practice and mentor conversations.
  • REd Talks (Rural Education Talks): Upon becoming a Teacher of Record, Resident Teachers will present sessions to share what they have learned with each incoming cohort.

Admission Requirements

To apply to become a teacher resident with Project REACh, you must have the following:

  • A baccalaureate degree outside of the teaching field with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 each academic year.
  • Completed applications to both UWA and Project REACh.
    • Applicants must also meet all the admission requirements for the Alt A (Alternative Class A) program.
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.
  • A non-teaching background.
  • Passing scores on any degree program required Praxis test(s).
  • Fingerprint clearance and background clearance on file with the Alabama State Department of Education.
  • Sign a contract agreeing to the teaching requirements of Project REACh.

Application Deadlines

Applications are available now on our webpage, (www.uwa.edu/projectreach). The deadline for applications for is March 15th, 2021. Teacher residency cohorts of 15 participants beginning each May through the year 2024 will be selected.

To learn more about Project REACh, contact us via email at Projectreach@uwa.edu.

The United States Department of Education, Teacher Quality Partnership program, funded $6.5 million (50%) of the $13 million UWA Project REACh grant award; UWA and other non-Federal funds match this funding.

*Residency opportunity available to UWA online students who are currently holding any non-education bachelor level degree and enrolling in a minimum of 2 classes each term in any Alternative Classroom A degree program beginning Summer 1 2021 term. Students must be seeking teaching certification within the State of Alabama. Fifteen students each year for the next 4 years will be awarded a $45,000 stipend. The stipend will be paid in equal monthly installments over the course of the 12 month residency program beginning in the month the student starts classes. Students are responsible for cost of tuition but there are no stipulations on how stipend can be used. Students receiving the stipend must complete the residency in Tuscaloosa, Livingston, or Mobile Counties. Students must graduate from the degree program in 14 months. After graduation, students who have received the stipend must commit to a three year teaching commitment, which does not include the period of student teaching. The three year teaching commitment will begin immediately following graduation and must be in a high need school within state of Alabama. No drops or withdrawals are permitted and student residents must maintain satisfactory academic progress and financial standing. If a student resident is unable to complete the residency, graduate within 14 months or fulfill the three year teaching commitment, they will be expected to pay back any stipend funds received.

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