Missouri is taking a significant step to help reduce its critical K-12 teacher shortage. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is designating $50 million in federal coronavirus aid to recruit more teachers and keep them in the profession.

During today’s state Board of Education meeting, Dr. Paul Katnik, assistant commissioner of the Office of Educator Quality, says there has been a 25% decline in Missouri K-12 teachers over the last six years.

Missouri to offer K-12 teacher recruitment and retention grants

“Why are we doing this? Teachers are the number one school-based factor in student success. They are the single most influential component of effective schools,” says Katnik.

The effort will make $10,000 grants available to all 554 Missouri public school districts and charter schools to create or expand local teacher recruitment programs, known as Grow Your Own (GYO) programs.

Katnik says about 20% of Missouri districts currently have some type of Grow Your Own program.

“If our efforts are successful and we recruit just three or four students in the 585 high schools in this state, we would put an estimated 2,000 new teacher candidates in our educator preparation programs that aren’t there today, which by the way reflects a 25% increase, which is what we’re trying to turn around,” he says.

The department hopes to have the grants ready for the next school year.

DESE will also make additional grants available to the districts and charter schools to carry out efforts to improve teacher retention, with a focus on providing funding to those schools with harder to fill positions.

Plans that could impact retention include:

*Providing stipends for mentors of new teachers or for other non-contractual duties

*Supporting teachers who are pursuing National Board Certification

*Addressing issues identified in staff culture and climate surveys

*Expanding professional learning and networking opportunities for educators

*Increasing teacher voice and teacher leadership opportunities

Related story:

As Missouri deals with ongoing teacher shortage, education leaders want to step up recruiting efforts: https://www.missourinet.com/2020/12/28/as-missouri-deals-with-ongoing-teacher-shortage-education-leaders-want-to-step-up-recruiting-efforts/

Copyright © 2021 · Missourinet