WARSAW — During a regular board meeting on Monday, Oct. 24, Warsaw Community Schools’ Board of Trustees approved a recently awarded $320,000 in competitive funding from the Indiana Department of Education for the Attract, Prepare, and Retain grant.
“The recipients of this grant understand the challenges of today’s labor market and know that schools and community partners must work together to find creative methods for recruiting and retaining Indiana’s very best educators,” said Indiana Secretary of Education Dr. Katie Jenner. “Whether through the expansion of registered apprenticeships, Grow Your Own programs or partnerships with local and national higher education providers, the innovative solutions funded by this grant will provide important support for Indiana educators and students.”
Warsaw Community Schools will use the funds to provide support staff with the opportunity to pursue teaching degrees because traditional recruitment methods no longer satisfy the need for teachers, especially hard-to-fill positions. WCS has established partnerships with Indiana State University and Bluffton University in order to retain and prepare teachers by providing opportunities for advanced degrees; the APR grant will allow for the expansion of collegiate partnerships.
WCS Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert shared, “WCS is extremely excited to receive this competitive grant to help recruit, retain and now assist in developing local highly qualified educators. In recent years, WCS has become a national leader in providing our educators with advanced degrees. These programs have provided over 100 Warsaw educators with full scholarships. With this new grant, WCS will be able to expand by providing our support staff opportunities to pursue their dreams of becoming certified teachers. These degrees will help WCS provide the best educators for our students and community.”
“Like our master’s programs partnerships with Bluffton University (Ohio) and Indiana State University (Terre Haute), this grant is another way we continue to invest in our people, distinguishing us as an employer of choice in ways that also maximize student growth and learning. We are thrilled for this win-win opportunity,” shared WCS Board President Heather Reichenbach.
In addition, WCS received a grant award of $45,000 from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. With this second round of grant funding, WCS and Grace College have been able to offer three teacher residency positions for the 2022-23 school year.
Modeled after medical residency and apprenticeship programs, teacher residency programs are full-year, paid teaching experiences for student educators, while also paying mentor teachers for the extra time spent supporting the students. The primary motivation for implementing a teacher residency partnership is to support future educators who will be more prepared for a teaching role, which as a result, will better support our students. These teacher residency positions will be particularly valuable because they will promote collaboration and ongoing support throughout the course of an entire school year and allow student teachers time with quality mentors to strengthen their instructional practices.