RISE Program helps heritage Spanish-speaking students earn college degree and job

In fall 2017, UNG and the Hall County School System embarked on a unique program to recruit heritage Spanish speakers to UNG’s College of Education, educate them to become teachers, provide them classroom experience, and supply them jobs after graduation.

Since then, the program, now named by the students as Realizing Inspiring Successful Educators (RISE), is reaping benefits.

UNG freshmen Adrian Galvan and Jennifer Jaimes, along with six other Hall County School graduates, are getting a college education without having to worry about financing it.

The Hall County School System funds the tuition of heritage Spanish-speaking Hall County graduates who enroll in UNG’s teacher education program. In exchange, students work as paraprofessionals with English learners in Hall County elementary schools. Upon graduation, the UNG students will be offered jobs by Hall County Schools.

Photo of Jennifer Jaimes and Adrian Galvan
Freshmen Jennifer Jaimes and Adrian Galvan are members of the first cohort of the Realizing Inspiring Successful Educators (RISE) undergraduate program at UNG.

Program co-coordinators, Dr. Sheri Hardee and Dr. Lauren Johnson, received a UNG Presidential Incentive Award to assist in paying for supplies, tutoring services and mentors for students.

The Presidential Incentive Awards allow professors time and money to focus on research, scholarship and creative activities within the calendar year. UNG President Bonita Jacobs launched the program in 2013 and has awarded more than $1 million in support of more than 168 professional development, research and innovation projects.