State education grant to Teach for America hopes to address teacher shortage

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

A $4.2 million grant announced by state education officials on Tuesday will be used in an effort to build a pipeline of educators to fill Oklahoma classrooms. The grant has been awarded to the state chapter of Teach for America by using a portion of federal relief dollars.

“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," said state education Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

The funding, slated to fund efforts through a three-year grant, will tap into the extensive Teach for America network of alumni to recruit and develop 50 teachers who will then commit to work for two years in Oklahoma schools. Another 75 aspiring school leaders will also be given resources to help them lead a school of their own, according to a Tuesday statement.

The grant also aims to recruit up to 20 tutors each semester from colleges for academic coaching and small-group instruction. Teachers can receive signing bonuses, stipends and possible incentive pay for placement in high-need districts. School leaders can receive professional development, internships in school leadership, and some financial assistance.

According to Teach for America Oklahoma City, about 140 teachers are currently in K-12 classrooms with many active corps members in Oklahoma City and Lawton. The $4.2 million grant is part of a larger recovery plan developed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and implemented in May.