Who can apply to the GRACE Program?
College graduates or students in their senior year (prepared to graduate from an accredited undergraduate program the spring before entering the program in June) may apply for the GRACE Program.
Can I apply for GRACE if I have not graduated from the University of St. Thomas?
Yes, many of the current GRACE participants are not University of St. Thomas graduates.
What grade levels are GRACE participants placed in?
Traditionally, the Archdiocese has placed students on both elementary and middle school campuses, grades K-8, but there is the possibility of working at the high school level or with Pre-K depending on your preference and strengths as a teacher.
Is it possible to be a part of the GRACE Program but not live within the community?
One of the pillars of the program is community, therefore it is required that all GRACE participants live in community. This pillar provides participants in the program with much needed professional and spiritual support during the challenging first years of teaching.
Where do GRACE students live during the school year and the summer?
The Archdiocese and the University will find and provide housing for the GRACE community. Since teaching placements and classes for the GRACE Program are located in Houston, GRACE participants do not have to move between the summer and school year.
Who chooses the school where I will teach?
The GRACE Program serves the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and therefore, participants will be placed in schools affiliated with that diocese by administrators of the program. However, based on personal preferences and individual strengths, participants may have an influence on where they are placed. While the program will participate in locating the most ideal placement for the member of the program, it is the responsibility of the member to attend interviews at specific schools that are potential placements.
How many graduate classes will I be taking?
The GRACE Program has prepared a degree plan in which participants will earn their master’s degree after completing the two-year commitment of the program. GRACE teachers take several classes during their first summer and then take up to two classes per semester for the duration of the program. By the end of the two years, members of the program will have taken 36 credit hours.
Will I need a car?
Although there is public transportation available in Houston, most GRACE teachers have found it more convenient to have a car available. Although it is not a requirement, it is strongly encouraged that members have access to a car.
What expenses do GRACE members have in the program?
The members will be expected to pay for their food, books, transportation, groceries, personal expenses and utilities. The students will receive medical benefits through the Archdiocese. The program pays for rent, tuition at UST and GRACE retreats.
What are the advantages to teaching in the GRACE program?
GRACE teachers receive a stipend from their salary in order to cover their living expenses. The GRACE members qualify for loan deferment for their undergraduate student loans. Furthermore, GRACE members will receive a M.Ed. from the University of St. Thomas. Finally, being in the GRACE Program provides individuals with an opportunity to grow spiritually and develop their craft as an educator while living in community with other teachers pursuing similar goals.
Will I be expected to provide my own furniture?
The basic necessities in terms of furniture will be provided by UST. This means a bed and mattress, a desk and a dresser.
Are the schools that the GRACE teachers work at safe?
The director of the GRACE Program stays in close communication with the GRACE teachers. Therefore, if there is a serious situation where a GRACE teacher does not feel safe or needs accommodations, there is a support system set in place for the teacher. However, although the schools where GRACE teachers work are in underserved communities, the teachers feel safe at their placements because of the support system they have within the program.
I have no experience working in a classroom. Will I be ready to teach by the end of the summer?
The GRACE graduate courses and the fellow GRACE members will aid in preparing new members to rise to the challenge of being a first-year teacher. Furthermore, GRACE members are observed during their first year by a professor with the program so that they can develop their skills as an educator.