Getting religion

"Getting religion" Continued...

Issue: "All-American adoption story," Nov. 21, 2009

• In Memphis, Tenn., Union University partners with a local faith-based organization and the secular Urban Teacher Residency United Network to create the Memphis Teacher Residency Program. The program pairs a select group of applicants with inner-city classroom mentors so they get a year of classroom experience, a Masters in Urban Education through Union University, and a teacher's license in one year. The Memphis Teacher Residency program is the only Christian one of its kind, integrating faith with the classes and holding devotionals each week.

• Eastern University, a Christian university in St. Davids, Pa., has taken a grant from a subsidiary of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to start the Eastern University Academy Charter School-a school with the goal of helping underserved urban students earn 60 college credits before graduation. Its first semester began in the fall of 2009, with 102 students in grades 7-9. It's a continuation of Eastern University's long involvement with the nearby Philadelphia public schools.

• George Fox University, a Quaker university in Newberg, Ore., works with public-school districts to identify future teacher leaders and train them to get their administrators licenses. Asbury College pairs 20 college students with local elementary-school students for a mentorship program.

TFA's Moore teaches ESL classes. Some of her students were born in the United States and still can't speak English well, while others just arrived and don't even know how to say hello. "That class is the most rewarding for me because you can tangibly see how they learn English," said Moore. One student began not knowing English and, by the time a year was up, received grades of advanced in math and proficient in English on the California Standards Test.

Moore sets a minimum goal of an 80 percent classroom average and loves to see her students' excitement when she dramatically announces their average: "They look at me and say, 'Oh, what is it!' When I say '86 percent!' or '83 percent!' they're so excited." They start competing with each other, and she sees her average class scores rise each year.

"They can do it. They can succeed," Moore says. "Every time I look at them, I feel like I'm looking at my family."


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