Lipscomb University's response in unprecedented times.Learn More
Creating a local pipeline of teacher candidates who plan to teach in Davidson county communities.
The Pionero Scholars Program is a scholarship and outreach program at Lipscomb that seeks to increase the number of local students who enroll at Lipscomb, with the long-term goal of creating a local pipeline of students returning to teach in their home communities.
Recruiting teachers in general must become a focus for Colleges of Education – enrollment in teacher preparation programs is at its lowest point in 45 years. (1) Each year Metro Nashville begins the school year with over 100 empty classrooms as there is a mismatch between teachers graduating with degrees and the needs of the district. Beyond that, the diversity of our teaching population is an important topic nationwide – low-income students, first generation students, students of color, male students, and English Language Learners need role models in their schools who understand where they come from and the challenges they are overcoming.
In Metro Nashville Public Schools, only 20% of teachers in 2015-2016 were male. (2) In terms of racial & ethnic diversity nationwide, while the numbers have steadily improved, nationwide teachers of color only make up 17% of the workforce. Meanwhile, the population of students of color is growing even faster – minority students now account for more than half of all public school students. (2) Also, almost one in four (12 million) schoolchildren ages 5 to 17 speak a language other than English at home, according to an analysis of census figures. (3) In Nashville, we are home to a vibrant and rapidly growing immigrant and refugee population, with sizeable communities of Kurdish, Egyptian, Mexican, Central American, Somali, Sudanese, Burmese, Thai, Laotian, and other nationalities from around the world. There are over 24,000 English Language Learners in Metro Nashville Public Schools, and the most diverse high school in the state of Tennessee, Overton High School, boasts over 60 languages spoken. (4)
Research has demonstrated that as a teacher population in a school becomes more diverse, all students in the school show positive gains in test scores, attention, retention, and college persistence. (Pitts, 2007). We believe that local students who grew up in Nashville have a unique perspective on working in communities with so much religious, ethnic, nationality, income, and linguistic diversity. We believe that local students, regardless of their own background, will ready to hit the ground running as teachers, confident in the context and strengths of their community.
The Pionero Scholarship is a $10,000 academic merit renewable scholarship that is awarded to up to six students each year. In order to be considered, students must meet the above listed qualifications and complete the application and interview process listed here on the Application Info page on our website.
During their undergraduate career, Pionero students participate in fun group activities, receive academic support, and are provided with an on-campus upperclassmen mentor as well as a faculty mentor. As upperclassmen, Pionero students receive a mentor that is a current or former classroom teacher to help them navigate Education specific courses and decisions.
To maintain the scholarship, Pionero students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and meet program requirements such as attendance in group meetings, support with recruitment events with the Pionero Program, and complete 5 service hours per semester.
Preference will be given to:
There is a separate application for Pionero outside of your admission to Lipscomb as an incoming freshman or a transfer student. Pionero Scholarship recipients are chosen each spring for the following fall semester. The scholarship dates are updated on December 1 of each year.
The application process for the Pionero Scholarship for Fall 2020 admission is now open!
For students interested in the Pionero scholarship, there will be a Pionero Preview Day event on Saturday, January 25th on the Lipscomb University campus. The meeting will be in room 107 of the Ezell Center building from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Candidates can get help with the application, practice for interviews, and meet current Pionero students. At noon, a tour of campus and free lunch in the cafeteria will be open to candidates and their families.
The application for the Pionero scholarship is DUE Tuesday, February 4th at midnight. For eligibility questions, please check the "About" section of this web page or email the Scholarship Director, Ms. Laura Delgado at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application components for the 2020 Pionero scholarship include:
All components should be either (a) emailed to email@example.com or (b) uploaded to the Pionero website. (See the “Upload Application” button, below.)
Please note: In order to be considered for the scholarship, applicants must be admitted to Lipscomb University by late February when the selection committee. Applicants who have not been admitted to the university will be automatically disqualified.
For application questions or concerns, please contact the Scholarship Director, Ms. Laura Delgado, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (615) 966-5274.
All applicants are required to participate in Interview Day, on Thursday, February 13th between 3:05 p.m. and 6:35 p.m. Each applicant will complete four 10 minute interviews with the selection committee. An optional dinner for families will follow starting at 6:30 p.m.
Selections will be announced on Wednesday, February 26th. All candidates will receive a visit to their school from the Scholarship Director or a phone call updating them about their status on this day.
In order to be considered, each student must submit the following items to the Pionero Scholars Program, either by using the links at the bottom of this page, or emailing them to email@example.com: