Westminster Receives DEWEY Award From Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Two students walk together on a sunny day in front of the Columns at Westminster College.

Westminster College is one of only 15 four-year colleges and universities out of 100 applicants to receive a $70,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

Winners of the Developing an Educator Workforce that Expands Yearly (DEWEY) Award were officially announced on Oct. 21, 2023. According to DESE, awardees are institutions of higher learning that are actively working to increase the number of Missouri teachers while strengthening retention in their teaching programs.

Dr. Barri Bumgarner, Professor of Education, headed Westminster’s DEWEY Award application committee. She says she thinks Westminster stood out because the College demonstrated how applying funds directly to tuition expenses during the student teaching semester is an effective retention technique.

“Retention with the education degree can be tough, for one reason, because students see the expenses involved in that last semester,” she explains. “Some students who hold down jobs during the academic year will have to take a semester off to earn enough money for student teaching, because they aren’t paid for that work or able to work as many hours with the rigor of the internship.”

The College similarly handled its grant money received in 2022 from the Grow Your Own grant, which provided funds for three individuals to student teach and remain with the Fulton Public School district for four years. Sarah Crostic, ’23 IND, launched her education career after receiving Grow Your Own funding. She is now a fourth-grade teacher at Bush Elementary School in Fulton. Shelby Kurtz, ’24 IND, and Katherine Wood, ’24 ΑΓΔ, will both begin student teaching at Fulton High School in spring 2024.

Bumgarner says the DEWEY Award is the next phase of educational grants distributed to colleges and universities throughout Missouri.

In addition to applying the DEWEY money to student tuition, she says the College plans to:

  • Host a Welcome to Westminster evening event for local high school juniors and seniors and their families.
  • Fund the Second Annual STEAM night with Dr. Tami Ensor, Dr. Jo Morrow, and the Fulton Public Schools.
  • Invite various Fulton High School students to attend education activities at Westminster.
  • Continue to host the multidistrict Educator’s Rising Conference in the spring at Westminster.
  • Provide food for various education events, including our next Grow Your Own signing and Kappa Delta Pi initiation ceremonies.

Ultimately, DEWEY Award funding will help Westminster students become the best educators possible while supporting the local community, where teachers are often paid less than those in other districts or many other professions.

“The horizon for education can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be if you look at it a different way,” Bumgarner reflects. “I tell my Westminster students that instead of focusing on how much they may make as a teacher, they will make a lot more than money. They will make a difference.”

Westminster’s education majors experience a 98% placement rate after graduation. For more information on studying education at the College, please contact Barri.Bumgarner@WCMO.edu

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.