Verizon Foundation Supports Teacher Education with a $50,000 Grant to UMES

  • Monday, November 8, 2010

    PRINCESS ANNE, Md.-(November 8, 2010) Future educators at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) will benefit from valuable technology-based training and internships through a $50,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to establish the Verizon 21st Century Scholars program at the university.

    Interns in the university's Teacher Education Program can qualify for Verizon's Thinkfinity training through Maryland Public Television.  Thinkfinity makes available free, engaging educational resources for teachers to spark their students' interest and improve student achievement.  Following the training, the qualified participants will complete internships in grades pre-K-12 in Caroline, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties. 

    William R. Roberts, Verizon's president in Maryland and Washington, D.C., and a 2003 UMES honorary degree recipient sees the grant as an opportunity to give back to his native Eastern Shore.

    "At Verizon, we feel it's important to provide future teachers with the state-of-the-art tools needed to educate tomorrow's leaders," Roberts said.  "At the same time, we're providing access and opportunity to these same educators, who might have the aptitude and the skill, but not the financial resources to finance their college education."       

    Kimberly Dumpson J.D., director of alumni affairs and planned giving, UMES, said, "It's a double-win situation.  Our students will receive training and scholarships toward their tuition.  The students, in turn, will take what they learn and incorporate it into their classroom instruction."

    Dr. Karen Verbeke, chair of UMES' Department of Education and director of teacher education, said, "It is the expectation that these scholars will learn to use technology, particularly Thinkfinity, to create lesson plans that enhance one-to-one interaction between the teacher and the student.  We are grateful for the generosity of Verizon in providing this opportunity to our UMES interns."

    Thinkfinity contains web-based lesson plans, in-class activities and videos in eight academic disciplines all of which can be found by searching the site by grade level, keyword or subject. 

    "It gets teachers and students to expand their horizons via technology to think 'outside of the box' and break the boundaries and routine of textbook instruction," Dumpson said.

    Content for Thinkfinity is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation's leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy:  the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Council for Economic Education, International Reading Association, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

    To learn more about the Verizon 21st Century Scholars program at UMES or to contribute to the UMES Campaign for Academic Excellence-a seven-year, $14 million commitment to raise funds for student scholarships-contact Dux