The Department of Education is moving forward with efforts to help with teacher recruitment and retention thanks to a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
State superintendent Glenda Ritz says the money established the Indiana Center on Teacher Quality at Indiana University, which focuses on increasing the number of qualified special education teachers in the state. The Center provides resources for scholarships for students wanting to become special education teachers and will also help facilitate professional development for these teachers.
The grant also creates a new position at the DOE that will focus on teacher attraction and retention in the state.
Ritz says this money allows the DOE to implement the recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Commission, a group of 50 educators headed by Ritz that met a few times before the legislative session. Some of the recommendations in the report needed legislative action to go into effect, but didn’t get it.
The DOE received the grant in January, but didn’t make the official announcement until today. During the legislative session Ritz was advocating for legislation that helped fulfill some of the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations.
She says this grant allows the DOE to move forward with things that don’t need legislative approval, such as establishing mentoring programs.
“We will begin talking about a framework of what makes a great mentoring program in a school for beginning teachers,” Ritz said. She also said they would like to work in tandem with universities who are educating future teachers, and will attend a summit of higher education institutions this summer.
“We’ll talk about various items whether it be clinical experiences, whether it be recruitment strategies that they’re using– making sure they have a diverse workforce.”
The Indiana Center on Teacher Quality at Indiana University has been functioning since the announcement by the grant, and is run through IU’s Center on Education and Lifelong Learning and Center on Community Living and Careers.