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Indiana doubles grants to $10 million for teacher recruitment, retention

By Joe Mueller 

Indiana schools and community partners will receive more than $10 million in funding to attract and retain educators throughout the state.

The Indiana Department of Education originally designated $5 million for its “Attract, Prepare, Retain” grant. However, the number and quality of grant applications led the department to increase the amount to $10.6 million. Funding for the grant comes from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and will be allocated to schools and educators in 29 of Indiana’s 92 counties.

“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,” Katie Jenner, the Indiana Secretary of Education, said in a statement announcing the funds. “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.”

Ball State University received the largest grant – $2.1 million – and will partner with eight school districts in six counties. The University of Evansville will receive $1.4 million and partner with the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation in Vanderburgh, the third-largest school district in Indiana. Teach for America will receive $1 million and partner with more than a dozen school districts in Marion County, including Indianapolis Public Schools with its 26,000 students in 59 schools.

Successful applicants focused on increasing leadership and career advancement within the education profession. The program also favored increasing opportunities for high school students and underrepresented populations to pursue careers as educators. Projects to increase sharing of information, best practices and ideas among educators also received funding.

Research by the Institute of Education Sciences in 2021 recommended state and education leaders attempt to “stop leaks in the teacher pipeline.” The study suggested prioritizing strategies to increase diversity in the teacher pipeline. It also recommended more support for students from low-income backgrounds who are pursuing degrees in education. The report suggested colleges encourage students to enroll in education programs early in their college years. Research found those who started pursuing an education degree in later years were less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree.

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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