News release
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Contact: Christina Chapple
Date: 5/5/04
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JUMPSTART PEARSON TEACHER FELLOWS – Southeastern Louisiana University Jumpstart participants April Thomas of Baton Rouge, second from left, Jenny Saing of Ponchatoula, center, and Ashleigh Plauche of Ponchatoula, second from right, are among 38 students nationwide who have been selected as Pearson Teacher Fellows. In return for special stipends, training and mentoring, the students will agree to work for two years for Head Start or another early learning program in Louisiana. Congratulating them are Southeastern President Randy Moffett, left, and Robert Waldron, right, national coordinator of the Jumpstart early literacy outreach program.

      HAMMOND -- Three Southeastern Louisiana University students who have participated in the university’s Jumpstart school readiness program have been accepted as Pearson Teacher Fellows. 
      Elementary education majors Jenny Saing and Ashleigh Plauche of Ponchatoula and communication major April Thomas of Baton Rouge are among 38 students nationwide awarded the fellowships, which provide stipends, special training and mentoring to Jumpstart corps members who agree to work for two years for Head Start or another early learning program.
      Pearson, one of the nation’s leading education companies, is a corporate partner of Jumpstart, the national school readiness program. Pearson committed $2.5 million in 2001 to the Teacher Fellow program.
      Saing and Plauche, who graduate in May, will serve fellows in 2004-2005. Thomas’s fellowship has been granted for 2005-2006, following her December 2004 graduation from Southeastern. She and Saing have been Jumpstart corps members for two years, while Plauche participated in the program in 2001-2002. 
      “These ladies have worked hard in the Jumpstart program and are dedicated to staying in the profession of early childhood education,” said Vaunne Blossman-Hand, coordinator of Southeastern’ Jumsptart. “I am very proud of the work they have done and the path they have chosen. Southeastern has done an incredible job in preparing them, and now Pearson has acknowledged their excellence as well.”
      “The fact that three out of the 38 fellows selected are from Southeastern,” she added, “speaks very highly of our teacher preparation program.
      In addition to agreeing to serve as full-time assistants, teachers, or lead teachers in an early learning program such as Head Start, the Pearson Teacher Fellows also receive a stipend to supplement their teaching salary, mentoring from a Pearson professional, assistance in gaining early childhood teaching credentials, and partial or full cancellation of some college loans. 
      Blossman-Hand said that the Southeastern fellows will undergo eight weeks of training in Boston and will be assisted by a Pearson placement liaison in obtaining a position with a Louisiana Head Start or other early learning program. 
      Now completing its third year, Southeastern’s Jumpstart program is one of two in Louisiana. Since 2001, Southeastern students have performed almost 31,000 hours impacting 93 children at the three partner sites. Each year, approximately 30 students have served as Jumpstart corps members.
      Jumpstart participants become AmeriCorps members and pledge a minimum of 300 hours of service during the academic year for a $1,000 education award or 525 hours extending into the summer for a $1,250 award. In addition to the education award, students who qualify for federal work-study can earn up to $6.30 an hour while working in the program.