Now that the College is embarking on an expansion of the Takoma Park campus, Bailey is thrilled that her old alma mater will be revitalized and that a program she helped inaugurate will be enhanced by both bricks and mortar and a new commitment to serving the community’s health care needs. The five-year, $88 million capital improvement program will enhance the College’s health sciences program, which are centered at the Takoma Park Campus, with the creation of a state-of-the-art health facility. The Health Sciences Center will not only have the latest modern equipment and labs for students, but will also house a community-based health care clinic, under a partnership agreement between the College and Holy Cross Hospital. Bailey, who lives only blocks from where the new facilities are going up, looks forward to the new buildings and services, but she is especially excited about the proposed Cultural Arts Center that is also a part of the expansion program. “I want to take classes to see if I can draw a straight line,” she quips.
Maryland will need to hire more than 10,000 public school teachers every year for the next 10 years to keep pace with the growing population of school-age children in the state. However, only about 2,500 qualified teachers graduate with a degree in education in Maryland each year. In response, Montgomery College has joined with the county’s public schools and several of the state’s four year institutions to increase the number of qualified teachers produced by these institutions. The result is a collaborative partnership that aims to identify potential teacher candidates and nurture them through an educational system that utilizes the advantages of Montgomery College and accelerates students’ involvement in their professional development.
“It is a fact that students who are identified early and are given an opportunity to work in the field earlier tend to stick with the program and go into the profession,” says Dr. Ginny Buckner, who chairs Rockville’s Education Department. A case in point is 19-year-old Michael Frazier, who is a member of the inaugural class of students enrolled in the “Growing Teachers Program,” as the collaborative partnership is known. Last winter, Frazier faced the prospect of graduating without any clear idea about a future career. He had vague plans to maybe go into politics or study law. Teaching was the furthest thing from his mind, despite the fact that his mom is a teacher at Magruder High School.
Through an outreach
effort conducted by the Growing Teachers Program,
Frazier was identified as a potential teacher, and he spent a
portion of his final year taking a fundamentals course in education
the College. Now, he is enrolled as a full-time student in the
to earn a bachelor’s degree in education and teach at the elementary
school level. “All my friends are sitting around not thinking about
their future,” he said during a recent interview. “[The program]
is giving me motivation and guiding me toward a future where I can expect
to be working and not sitting on a couch after graduation.”