BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Florida Atlantic University is certainly on the radar screen of government officials. Proof positive: the school has been named as the grant administrator for the Department of Defense’s “Florida’s Troops To Teachers Program.”
The program which provides information and support to soldiers and military veterans who desire to become teachers in Florida. Troops to Teachers is a nationwide program authorized by Congress to recruit and provide support services to veterans who enter the teaching field. Those eligible may receive a $5,000 stipend to pay for certification costs or a $10,000 bonus if they teach for three years in a high-need or a high-poverty school.
Troops to Teachers was originally authorized for five years. Due to the success of participants in the classroom, the program is now in its 18th year. Research indicates that Troops to Teacher participants have skills needed in today’s classroom and have higher retention rates than traditional teachers. A study published in the NASSP Bulletin showed students of Troops to Teachers participants have high achievement in reading and math. “A Comparative Study of Critical K-12 Teaching Skills Between Florida-Based Military Instructors and Experienced Classroom Teachers,” published by John Jacobs, Ph.D., showed that military personnel who completed advanced military instructor training score higher on a critical teaching skills assessment than traditional teachers.
“This program has shown that military personnel are a good fit for our classrooms,” said Ron Burton, regional director of the Florida and Caribbean region for Troops to Teachers. “Military personal have leadership skills gained while serving our nation that they now bring into the classroom, and it works. They have experience working with individuals across all socio-economic categories, and they know how to motivate different individuals to accomplish the assigned task.”
Joel Herbst, Ed.D., assistant dean of FAU’s PreK-12 schools and programs in FAU’s College of Education, is the principal investigator for the Troops to Teachers grant. One area of opportunity is the pursuit of related grants to expand distance learning for veterans who are serving active duty overseas or nationally — particularly in the areas of middle or high school mathematics, chemistry, physics and geosciences — to match state demand.
“Today’s technologies and partnerships offer robust possibilities to support quality learning for military personnel around the globe,” said Herbst. “FAU’s traditionally strong science and engineering programs may meet the interests of veterans who have a desire to teach and who need additional content and distance flexibility.”
Florida is second only to Texas in the number of Troops to Teachers participants hired. Since its inception in 1994, Florida has placed more than 1,300 Troops to Teachers participants in the classroom. Eligibility requirements vary, but in general, those who have served on active duty or with the National Guard or Selected Reserve with six years of service, or those who were discharged due to service-determined physical disabilities and have separated with an honorable discharge within the last four years may qualify. Military veterans who have retired from the service are eligible.