California grants offer support staff a path to teaching
- California is distributing $20 million across 25 school districts and county offices of education to help 5,000 support staff members earn their teaching credentials while continuing to work at their schools.
- EdSource reports 1,000 eligible employees can get stipends of $4,000 per year over the course of the five-year grant, which could cover all or most of the cost to enroll in California State University campuses, depending on how many courses these employees take per semester.
- Support staff members at the 25 education agencies must have an associate of arts degree to be eligible for the program, priority is given to those willing to become certified in math, science, special education or bilingual education, and instructional aides, librarians, secretaries, custodians, bus drivers and certain administrators are among those expected to apply.
This grant program is another attempt to address a teacher shortage with homegrown talent. Other districts have focused their energies on tempting former students back to teach in their home schools. The idea is that supporting people with an existing connection or sense of loyalty to the local community will translate to less turnover. Helping instructional aides get their teaching licenses seems especially effective, as they already have classroom experience, they know the families in the school, and they could be poised to have a running start leading their own classrooms.
In Syracuse, NY, the city school district has created an aspiring leaders academy to train teachers and administrators. District officials realized they weren’t getting as many qualified applicants as they wanted for administrator positions and decided to groom their own promising leaders for the jobs. New administrators from outside the district are also asked to go through the academy in their first year to ensure there are consistent norms for leadership districtwide.
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