Empowering local education: Alamance Scholars Program unveils transformative partnership to Governor’s DRIVE Task Force

The Alamance Scholars Program aims to cultivate a local pipeline for students to become educators in Alamance County. This collaborative initiative, aligned with Elon University's strategic goals, focuses on increasing diversity, dismantling barriers to education, and recognizing the vital role of teachers in community development.

Representatives from Alamance-Burlington School System (ABSS), Alamance Community College (ACC) and Elon University joined forces to present a compelling overview of the Alamance Scholars Program, showcasing the strategic collaboration between these esteemed institutions during a Nov. 17 presentation at Winston-Salem State University.

left to right: Portia Wade (Elon), Jodi Hofberg (ABSS), Jennifer Jones (ACC), and Lisa Thompson (Elon).

Information about the innovative program was presented to the Governor’s DRIVE Task Force at the 2023 DRIVE Tour event and highlighted the shared commitment to fostering a robust pipeline for local students to live, learn and ultimately contribute as educators in Alamance County.

The pivotal “Declaration of Intent” was officially signed on Jan. 28, 2021, by key institutional leaders — former ABSS Superintendent Bruce Benson, former ACC President Algie Gatewood and Elon President Connie Ledoux Book. Since this historic signing, significant strides have been taken to propel more students within ABSS towards considering teacher education as a viable and rewarding career option.

Related Articles

The partnership is characterized by several key initiatives. Firstly, the collaboration is committed to enhancing opportunities for local students to transition from students to educators within Alamance County, creating a robust educational pipeline. Aligned with Elon’s 10-year Boldly Elon Strategic Plan, the partnership actively addresses and dismantles barriers that local citizens may encounter when pursuing education at the university. A crucial aspect of the program is the commitment to increasing the representation of students of color in the teaching profession by expanding admissions and enrollment within Alamance County.

Efforts are also underway to improve financial accessibility for local students attending Elon University through resource-raising initiatives aimed at supporting increased access and financial aid. The partnership recognizes the pivotal role of educators in community development, acknowledging them as essential contributors to the success and advancement of local communities.

Additionally, the collaboration focuses on streamlining communication and student transfer processes between the three institutions to create a seamless educational journey.

Finally, the initiative places a strong emphasis on diversity and equity, aiming to increase the number of highly qualified, diverse and equity-minded teachers to enrich the educational landscape of the community.

Commenting on the partnership, Ann Bullock, Dr. Jo Watts Williams Dean of Education, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “This collaboration underscores our shared dedication to education and community development. By creating a pathway for local students to become educators, we are investing in the future of Alamance County.”

The Alamance Scholars Program represents a bold initiative that not only aligns with the strategic goals of the partner institutions but also promises to make a lasting impact on the educational landscape of Alamance County.

About the DRIVE Task Force:

In 2019 Governor Cooper established the DRIVE Task Force and charged the body to develop recommendations to create a more diverse and inclusive educator workforce in North Carolina. The Task Force released an initial report and recommendations in 2021 and launched the DRIVE Action Plan in 2022, outlining North Carolina’s plan for recruiting, preparing, supporting, and retaining educators of color. As the DRIVE Task Force continues to discuss the necessary next steps towards implementation, the 2023 DRIVE Tour was designed to highlight and uplift initiatives and programs across the state of North Carolina that exemplify the recommendations and strategies outlined in the action plan.

DRIVE Tour Presenters:

Jodi Hofberg, Teachers Scholars Program Coordinator, Alamance-Burlington School System

Jennifer Jones, Education Instructor, Alamance Community College

Lisa Thompson, Adjunct Instructor in Education and Assistant Director of Alamance Scholars Program, Elon University

Portia Wade, Lecturer in Education and Director of Alamance Scholars Program, Elon University