The Davenport Community School District (DCSD) has been awarded a $3.7 million competitive grant as part of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ new Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program.
The program is meant to grow Iowa’s educator talent pipeline and support the expansion of registered apprenticeships in schools across the state.
This apprenticeship will provide opportunities for high school students to earn a paraeducator certificate and associate degree at the same time. The program also will give adult paraeducators with an associate degree the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree while working in the classroom as a paraeducator and taking courses.
DCSD schools will partnering eligible community colleges or four-year colleges or universities to provide the required education. The school district said in a news release that it is pleased to collaborate with the Bettendorf, Clinton, Muscatine, North Scott, Pleasant Valley, and West Liberty school districts to offer the opportunity to their students, staff and leaders.
The district applauded the governor and Iowa Workforce Development for their generosity and innovative approach to Iowa’s teacher shortage.
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. 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 in December of 2021.
Of 26 grant applications, 19 districts were granted awards totaling more than $45.6 million, which will serve more than 1,000 paraeducators and students in 134 schools and ultimately create more than 500 new paraeducators and 500 new teachers.
Funding for the one-time grant awards is provided through the state’s federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. Recipients will regularly report their progress throughout the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years.