Central Community School District selected for new Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program
Gov. Reynolds awards $45.6 million in competitive grants to grow Iowa’s educator talent pipeline
DES MOINES – Central CSD was awarded a competitive grant as part of Gov. Reynolds’ new Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program to grow Iowa’s educator talent pipeline and support expansion of registered apprenticeships in schools across the state. Included as part of a consortium of school district sponsored by the Rural School Advocates of Iowa, the total grant awarded to the consortium was $6,376,113.
This innovative program will provide opportunities for current high school students to earn a paraeducator certificate and associate degree, and adult paraeducators with an associate degree to earn their bachelor’s degree all while working in the classroom as a paraeducator, and taking courses towards their education degree. School districts are partnering with an eligible community college or four-year college or university to provide the required education.
“Rural school advocacy is a passion of mine and rural schools have unique challenges which include hiring and retaining teachers. I am proud Central is a part of RSAI’s TPRA grant as we look to grow our own pool of talented teachers. -Mr. Trenkamp”
The Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program awards are part of a broad commitment to help more Iowans pursue careers in education. The program came out of recommendations from the Task Force on Growing a Diverse K-12 Teacher Base, which the Iowa Legislature called for during the 2021 session. The Task Force examined potential barriers to entering the teaching profession, with an emphasis on those underrepresented in the teaching force, and submitted its final report to Gov. Reynolds and the General Assembly last December.
The Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship grants drew 26 applications. Of those, 19 districts were granted awards totaling over $45.6 million, which will serve more than 1,000 paraeducators and students in 134 schools, ultimately creating over 500 new paraeducators and 500 new teachers. Funding for these one-time grant awards is provided through the state’s allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. Recipients will regularly report their progress throughout the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.