GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Valley State University education student hoping to clinch a scholarship to student teach in Detroit says his goal is to make a difference in an urban area.
“I feel as a future teacher I’ll be able to learn as much, if not more, from my students,” said Nick Karavas. “I feel like especially in one of those kinds of settings, it would be the experience of a lifetime.”
Karavas has applied for the new program aimed at bolstering the number of teaching students wishing to bring their talents to Detroit and the 38 schools that are chartered by Grand Valley State University.
It remains to be seen if and when the revitalization downtown Detroit is experiencing will make it into the city’s neighborhoods and their schools.
While GVSU officials are happy with the performance of their Detroit charter schools, the university has trouble attracting teachers to its charter schools in the city.
This plan incentivizes student teachers to think Detroit.
“We will pay for their tuition while they are student teaching in that area,” explained Tim Wood, GVSU’s associate vice president for charter schools.
Under the scholarship program, up to 20 GVSU education students choosing to do their required student teaching in one of the university’s Detroit charter schools will get the approximate $6,500 in semester tuition cost covered by the university.
GVSU officials hope the program will resolve a long-term problem.
“If they do a good job while they’re student teaching, they can potentially be hired by that school, and that school will solve a problem that they have,” says Wood. “And that is availability of talent.”
Both the incentive and the opportunity fit perfectly into Karavas’ plans.
“I feel like the relationships that are formed are so special with the student specifically. And I just… want to do as much as I can,” said Karavas.
There are other incentives for student teachers. If they have federally backed student loans, those loans are forgiven if the teacher spends five years in an urban district. GVSU also offers to reduce tuition for teachers in their Detroit charters working on their masters.