Burlington School District gets $480K to help train new educators

The Burlington School District has been awarded nearly half a million dollars in grant money aimed at helping provide current high school and adult students, and current paraeducators, with in-house training for careers in education.

On Thursday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the 19 recipient schools of the Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Grant Program, which she initially unveiled during her Condition of the State Address in January.

Under the program, $45.6 million will be distributed to help provide high school students and adults with opportunities to earn a paraeducator certificate and associate’s degree, as well as help paraeducators earn their bachelor’s degree, all while working in the classroom.

“The overwhelming response we received for this grant opportunity has been truly remarkable and is evident of the great interest and passion that lies within our students and paraeducators to jumpstart their careers in education,” Reynolds said in a statement. “Through valuable partnerships, this program makes post-secondary educational opportunities available at the fingertips of high school students before graduating high school. And, we’re not done yet — this pilot program is just the beginning of what we hope will expand across the state.”

The Burlington School District has been awarded $485,792.

The program is the first of its kind in the state and aims to serve paraeducators and students in 134 schools, with the goal of creating more than 500 new paraeducators and 500 new teachers.

In this file photo, Mariah Kuykendoll, 11, a fifth grade student at Aldo Leopold Intermediate School helps Hope Haven client Greg Hanks with an art project Friday May 6, 2022 at Aldo Leopold Intermediate School.  The project was part of Burlington School District's Hound Town Day in which both elementary and high school students and staff help around the community in various ways.  While the rainy weather led to some outdoor clean up activities being canceled or rescheduled, classroom project went ahead.  Some of the projects included students delivering cards to area nursing homes, making and delivering meals to fire fighters, making treat bags for police and fire stations, planting individual flower ports for Klein residents.

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State officials believe the program will help school districts create a reliable and continuous pipeline of skilled workers within the state and help students jump-start their careers in the education field.

“Growing our teacher and paraeducator talent pipeline helps ensure Iowa students have access to a world-class education today and into the future,” Iowa Department of Education director Ann Lebo said in a statement. “I commend these school districts and postsecondary partners for their innovative plans to start registered apprenticeships that will inspire and support the next generation of educators in Iowa communities.”

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