Go Forward Pine Bluff will announce recipients of the TEACH Pine Bluff initiative at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center, 211 W. Third Ave.

The first class of fellows will be honored at a signing ceremony, according to a news release.

The goal is to recruit new and retain currently certified teachers by offering full tuition fellowships towards obtaining a master’s degree in their content area while teaching in Pine Bluff, according to the release.

“The TEACH Pine Bluff initiative is a result of partnerships with higher education institutions to supply the three Pine Bluff school districts with certified graduates,” according to the release.

The districts are Pine Bluff, Watson Chapel and Dollarway.

“Go Forward Pine Bluff has earmarked $690,000.00 over three years for TEACH Pine Bluff. These dollars will finance masters’ degrees for a minimum of 30 teachers. TEACH Pine Bluff will offer a minimum of nine (9) slots, three (3) per district), per year over the next three (3) years,” according to the release. “As part of the public-private partnership between the City of Pine Bluff and Go Forward Pine Bluff, the private dollars raised from the business community are designated for the L.E.A.P. (Leadership, Education, Accountability, Pipeline) strategies.”

According to the initiative, graduates from across the nation will be eligible, and the masters’ degree should be obtained from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Arkansas at Monticello or the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

“Any recipient of the funds from Go Forward Pine Bluff as part of the TEACH Pine Bluff Initiative must commit to residing in the city limits of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, during the contract period,” according to the release.

“Go Forward Pine Bluff recognizes that many teachers currently hold masters’ degrees and therefore the above incentive does not apply. A second master’s degree is optional but must be in the content area in which the applicant teaches. Instead, the Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative (ARESC) offers training for teachers aspiring to become nationally certified. Teachers who pass the national exam as a TEACH Pine Bluff Fellow must commit to teaching four years in the same district during the time of funding approval. A national board certification grant is also an option for certified teachers who only hold a bachelor’s degree,” according to the release.

Details: www.goforwardpb.org .