VolsTeach for Appalachia (VFA) is an NSF-funded project (Award Id : 1758325) that strengthens the STEM teacher pathway from community college to high-need school districts in Appalachian East Tennessee. The project provides rural scholars unique experiences as they become culturally responsive STEM teachers.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Pellissippi State Community College have partnered with five school districts in East Tennessee to tackle the persistent shortage of mathematics and science teachers here in East Tennessee, the heart of Appalachia.
The mission of the VolsTeach for Appalachia program is to grow and diversify the STEM teacher workforce in East Tennessee by supporting community college (dual enrollment) students in their journey to becoming the next generation of high-quality, successful STEM teachers.
Through VolsTeach for Appalachia, high-potential Noyce Appalachian Scholars will be recruited and supported from community college (dual enrollment) to become future STEM teachers, committing their first four years of teaching to high-needs school districts here in East Tennessee.
VolsTeach for Appalachia (VFA) shares an innovative recruitment plan, summer internships, enhanced coursework, academic supports, and out-of-classroom field experiences that will provide a rich pathway for participants in becoming STEM teachers.
VFA will enable 30 participating community college students to collaborate with faculty from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Pellissippi State Community College to ultimately receive a bachelor’s degree in STEM major with a minor in education and teaching certification within four years in the program.
Students who have been selected will receive scholarship support for two years, along with STEM content and pedagogy, community learning culturally relevant pedagogy, and individually tailored supports, preparing them for success in the beginning of their careers as teachers in high-need school districts.