KBOR Renews Grant Helping Online College of Education Students in Rural, Urban Areas Earn Teaching Degrees

Manhattan, Kan. — The Kansas State University College of Education will continue providing scholarships for online undergraduate students in rural and urban communities who want to become teachers with the renewal of grant funding by the Kansas Board of Regents.

Project TRUST, which stands for Training Rural and Urban Student Teachers, received a grant award of $140,135 from the board to help place-bound students earn bachelor’s degrees in elementary education. Through the grant, the students selected for scholarships, or TRUST Scholars, will receive 12 credit hours of tuition support for their final semester.

Project TRUST supports a grow-your-own program model by allowing students to complete their degree requirements in their home communities while addressing specific teacher needs in hard-to-fill disciplines and underserved areas. This spring, 26 student teachers were selected as TRUST Scholars, receiving scholarships and serving in rural and urban schools throughout Kansas.

In its renewal letter notifying Todd Goodson, professor and chair of the college’s curriculum and instruction department and the lead principal investigator for the grant, Kansas Board of Regents officials thanked the Project TRUST team for its “important effort to create a transfer pipeline from our community colleges to increase the number of certified teachers in hard-to-fill disciplines and/or underserved geographic areas in Kansas.”

Curriculum and Instruction assistant professors Tonnie Martinez and Lori Goodson are co-principal investigators for the grant. The team also includes Eileen Wertzberger, field experiences project coordinator; Susan Erichsen; grant specialist; and LouAnn Getz, research assistant.

“It is essential for us to build convenient and powerful pathways for community college students to complete undergraduate degrees and teacher licensure,” Goodson said. “This grant is an important step in that process.”

In addition to working with teacher pathway programs at local school districts, Project TRUST coordinators collaborate with administrators at Kansas City Kansas Community College in Kansas City and Seward County Community College in Liberal.

“It seems like districts reach out nearly every day to inquire if we have candidates to fill their positions,” Martinez said. “Our team is thrilled to have the funding to encourage our students be placed in these high-need districts. The K-State College of Education wants to be part of the solution for statewide teacher vacancies, and Kansas Board of Regents funding is helping us do that.”