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March 3, 2005 • Volume 13 Number12

Urban Scholars Program Receives $2.2 Million Gift

Sharp Foundation gift will endow training for teachers in urban schools

A $2.2 million gift from the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation will endow a successful Boston College program that trains teachers for jobs in urban settings, one of the most critical needs facing American education.

Building on a previous commitment to Boston College, the gift will permanently establish the Peter Jay Sharp Urban Scholars Program at the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education. The program, which already has trained and placed 18 students in urban districts, will recruit, place, and support an additional 10 teachers per year with a particular focus on serving the educational needs of Boston and New York City, which is the largest urban school system in the nation.

"The Sharp Urban Scholars Program has helped the Lynch School recruit and prepare a talented and diverse pool of teacher candidates while allowing them to graduate without burden of debt," said Boston College President William P. Leahy, SJ.

"I am very pleased with our partnership with the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, and I am grateful for the foundation's generous support."

The program's endowment comes at a time when experts are predicting that some 700,000 teachers will be needed in urban areas during the next decade.

"The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation is committed to addressing the critical need for new teachers who are adept at teaching an increasingly diverse student population," said foundation director Edmund C. Duffy. "To that end, we are working to remove barriers for talented young people who want to teach in urban settings. In Boston College, we have found a partner who shares this commitment."

Through the program, LSOE will work with senior administrators in urban districts to identify and recruit candidates, train them as Sharp Urban Scholars, and return them to their home districts. This recruiting strategy allows the Lynch School to provide schools with teacher candidates who have chosen to work in these settings and who are eager to be well-prepared to work in challenging environments.

Ten years ago, the Lynch School launched its first efforts targeted specifically at recruiting and training students of education to teach in urban settings. BC made a commitment to create and fund the Charles Donovan, SJ, Urban Teaching Scholars Program, named for the Lynch School's founding dean, to provide critical financial support to students seeking advanced education degrees to prepare them to teach urban students.

Each year, the program recruits and supports a cohort of up to 30 graduate students for an intensive one-year program in teacher preparation and provides them with a challenging education responsive to the needs and concerns of urban students, families, schools, and communities.

"The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation is committed to improving teaching and learning in urban public schools," said Norman Peck, president of the foundation's board of directors. "We are delighted that the Sharp Urban Scholars Program at Boston College will continue to support the pipeline of new teachers committed to serving the educational needs of a diverse urban community, which includes cities such as New York City and Boston."

The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation was established in 1984 to fund programs in education and the arts. Peter Jay Sharp, who died in 1992, was a real estate developer and hotelier who served as a past chairman of the New York City Opera. He also served on the boards of the International Center for the Disabled, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Vivian Beaumont Theater, City Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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