In partnership with George Washington High School, Holy Family University’s School of Education (SOE) has formed a new student group called Future Teachers of Philadelphia. The goal of the group is to identify high school students in Philadelphia who have an interest in teaching as a career and to provide activities that nurture and support those aspirations.
Two faculty coordinators from the School of Education and two from George Washington have planned a variety of activities to bring students to the Holy Family campus, connect them with SOE faculty and students, have SOE faculty and students visit George Washington, and develop knowledge and understanding of teaching as a profession. By the time students are ready to graduate from George Washington, the goal is for them to want to pursue teacher certification at Holy Family University.
“The faculty support from George Washington High School has been fantastic,” said Dr. Kevin Zook, Dean of the School of Education. “Charles Socki has helped coordinate the program at the high school, and his enthusiastic commitment to introducing aspiring young teachers to the profession resulted in approximately 15 students joining the newly formed group last spring. The students, themselves, are wonderful. I've been to the school, and I've met some of them, many of whom will be first-generation college students. They are polite, respectful, hard-working, and eager to make a difference in Philadelphia through teaching.”
The initiative also aims to help bring Philadelphia’s own students back to the city to serve as teachers, meeting a critical need for urban teachers and a particular need for more teachers from under-represented sociocultural groups.
“It is terrific to find a partner so close that espouses the same desire we have of exposing students to career exploration opportunities,” said Sue Thompson, Principal of George Washington High School. “This specific partnership could potentially broker a connection between a local University and a Philadelphia high school where students may see what it would be like to come back to the city they grew up in to become our future teachers.”
In addition to supporting Future Teachers of Philadelphia, the University also will invite George Washington students to take selected introductory courses at Holy Family, providing them with college credits, further opportunities for career exploration, and exposure to a university setting.
“Dean Zook and Principal Thompson are poised as visionary leaders to develop a unique program that will ultimately benefit a great many children,” said Dr. Dion Betts, Assistant Superintendent for the School District of Philadelphia. “The School District of Philadelphia needs teachers, the children need exemplary instruction, and they will need college experience and good jobs. What better way to fulfill these needs than to work with our high school students now on introductory pre-service learning? I applaud and encourage this work.”