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$250,000 Commitment to Help Defray Cost of Student Teaching

BOONE—A $250,000 commitment toward a $1 million scholarship endowment being established in Appalachian State University’s Mariam Cannon Hayes School of Music will help prospective music educators defray the financial burden that often accompanies student teaching.

The commitment, made by a donor who chooses to remain anonymous, will help establish the Student Teacher Tuition Aid Endowment in the music school.

“The $1 million endowment is a large and ambitious goal, but it’s a realistic goal,” said Hayes School of Music Dean William Harbinson. “This very generous lead gift has raised our optimism of reaching the goal. We hope it also will motivate others who are interested in supporting music education in North Carolina.”

When fully funded, interest from the endowment will provide $1,000 to as many as 40 music education majors at Appalachian, covering the cost of tuition charged to the student teachers.

Student teaching can be a stressful time for prospective students. While undertaking their first full-time experience in the classroom, they often must purchase a professional wardrobe, and cover transportation and living expenses if their teaching assignment isn’t close to home.

The idea for the student teacher tuition program came from the music school’s advisory board. Concerned with North Carolina’s teacher shortage as well as the state of music education in public and private schools, the board discussed ways to recruit, retain and train students interested in a music education career, Harbinson explained.

North Carolina will need some 80,000 new teachers over the next 10 years to address a shortage occurring from teacher retirements and attrition, and an increase in the school-age population.

The UNC System produces about 80 percent of the state’s education graduates, with Appalachian accounting for 16 percent of that amount. The Hayes School of Music graduates about 6 percent of the university’s teacher education majors each year.

“We want our music education majors to know they will receive some financial support when they spend a semester student teaching,” Harbinson said. “We can help address the state’s teacher shortage by recruiting, training and sending into the field as many prepared music education majors as we can.”