Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

WCE Receives Wells Fargo Grant to Support Beginning Teachers

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

The Watson College has received a $23,450 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation to support beginning teachers in Sampson County. The grant will enable WCE’s Professional Development System to bring three full days of professional development to 50 professionals in their first and second years of teaching in spring 2019.

“We offer three Beginning Teacher Professional Development Days at the Watson College each year, but the cost of paying for substitute teachers and registration can make the events cost-prohibitive for some of our school partners in distant rural districts,” said Somer Lewis, director of WCE’s Professional Development System Office. “This funding from Wells Fargo will enable us to provide professional development on-site in Sampson County and strengthen our existing BT collaboration with the district.”

As a new anchor institution for the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program, WCE partnered with Sampson County on a NC NTSP pilot for five beginning teachers in spring 2018. The program was fully implemented in August for the 2018-19 academic year and currently supports 11 teachers in the district. The NC NTSP brings regional universities together with district partners to support beginning teachers in order to improve teacher retention, effectiveness and student learning.

In preliminary meetings, Wells Fargo expressed interest in supporting teacher retention programs in rural school districts with high numbers of lateral entry teachers, Lewis said. At the same time, the Watson College was seeking ways to replicate and expand beginning teacher support programs outside of the greater Wilmington area.

“We are grateful for the generous support from Wells Fargo,” Lewis said. “We look forward to growing our partnership with Sampson County and hope to find ways to bring similar support to school districts throughout Southeastern North Carolina in the future.”

Media Coverage

The Sampson Independent, February 6: County hosts STEM workshop
The Sampson Independent, November 29: UNCW assists new teachers