The mission of the Francis Marion Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty is to increase the achievement of children of poverty by improving the quality of undergraduate teacher preparation, graduate teacher preparation, and the professional development of in-service teachers.

The Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty was established within the School of Education at Francis Marion University in 2004 by funding received through a five-year grant awarded by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. The Center has experienced continuous growth since 2004 and has been funded since 2009 by the South Carolina Education Improvement Act of 1984, the investment of Center Districts, and Francis Marion University.

With a dual focus on in-service teacher professional learning and preservice teacher development, the Center is now recognized as the premier resource for supporting educators seeking strategies for improving the quality of education for under-resourced students and all learners.

The School of Education at Francis Marion voted in 2004 to explicitly embed the Center’s high-impact strategies across all programs leading to teacher certification. Additionally, a selection of short- and long-term professional learning opportunities are offered in support of in-service educators. Conferences, workshops, graduate courses, and service projects for pre- and in-service teachers and school administrators, and educational stakeholders. Based on best practice research and practitioner insights, these activities are designed to help teachers understand parents and children who live in poverty and the community resources that are available to them, as well as the most effective instructional strategies that can lead to school success for all students.

All Center events and activities are aligned with Six Standards for Teachers of Children of Poverty (TCOP). An aggressive research agenda monitored by an independent evaluator includes careful study of the effectiveness of the Center’s work, specifically in terms of the Standards for Teachers and the project goals. Each event and activity is evaluated, and results are used to improve the efforts of the Center.

Our Goals

The Center identified three goals for advancing academic success in traditionally underserved populations of children in and of poverty in South Carolina:

Goal 1

Teacher Preparation

Design and implement preservice and graduate teacher education programs that attract qualified applicants and enable graduates to effectively teach children of poverty.

Goal 2

In-Service Professional Learning

Provide high quality professional learning programs that include collaborative research activities and the use of existing research evidence to improve curriculum, instruction, and assessment in schools serving large numbers of children of poverty and equip teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to work effectively with parents, health and human service providers, and other community resources to meet the social, emotional, and physical needs of children of poverty and to serve as advocates for them in the school, community, and state.

Goal 3

Premier Resource

Serve as the premier resource for helping teachers learn how to provide a high-quality education to all children of poverty.