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State superintendent announces $4.2 million grant to combat Oklahoma teacher shortage

Joy Hofmeister
Posted at 10:00 AM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 11:00:58-04

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced Tuesday a $4.2 million grant to help combat the teacher shortage throughout the state.

The grant will help the Oklahoma Chapter of Teach For America (TFA) launch a statewide strategy to increase school effectiveness, build a strong pipeline of educators and address pandemic-related learning loss, according to the State Department of Education.

“We are thrilled to work with TFA to expand the footprint of their innovative and effective talent development model in our schools,” Hofmeister says.“

"Educators who work within the TFA model are results-driven individuals who connect deeply with students and families. These skills will be in high demand as we continue to leverage strategies to combat the teacher shortage, work to ensure students recapture unfinished learning and foster a sense of reconnection within school communities.”

Funds for the three-year grant are coming from federal relief money.

With the funding, TFA will tap into its extensive nationwide alumni network for the recruitment and development of 50 teachers who will commit to working for two years in Oklahoma schools. Additionally, TFA will equip 75 aspiring school leaders with the tools and experience to one day lead schools of their own. The organization also plans to recruit up to 20 tutors per semester from colleges and universities to support schools in a variety of ways, including academic coaching and small-group instruction. This on-the-ground training will serve as a launchpad for local graduates to become part of the next generation of Oklahoma educators.
Oklahoma State Department of Education

“We are grateful to receive this generous grant to help us bring and develop more high-impact leaders to Oklahoma,” says Sarah Park, executive director of Teach For America Oklahoma City.

“These next three years are crucial for teachers and school leaders to address learning loss and provide social-emotional support especially to students who have been most directly impacted by the pandemic. Additionally, we’re committed long-term to ensuring that more Oklahoma students are on track to reach key educational milestones.”

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said last week that the teacher shortage is one of the most significant issues facing the district as the new school year gets underway.

“Anybody who is watching and is interested in working with young people or operationally, we have lots of positions within the district, we very much need folks," Gist told 2 News Oklahoma.

MORE >>> Masks, quarantines and teaching shortages: Tulsa superintendent talks return to classrooms


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