A federal grant aimed at addressing teaching shortages will support 40 Georgia Gwinnett College students hoping to become teachers in Gwinnett County Public Schools.
The Teacher Quality Grant from the U.S. Department of Education will cover a yearlong teaching residency and two years of additional support, according to a news release Monday from the college. It totals $3.7 million and will be distributed over five years. Georgia Gwinnett College is one of 22 grant recipients and the only one in the state.
“These programs help prepare, place, develop and retain effective teachers and leaders in our schools and classrooms,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said. “Our students need quality educators now more than ever to address their academic and mental health needs.”
Gwinnett schools started the year fully staffed, but the district is working to hire hundreds of teachers to reduce class sizes. It also has a goal of diversifying its workforce: Earlier this year, the district reported about 64% of teachers are white, while less than 20% of students are white.
Anita Anderson, a Georgia Gwinnett College assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, said grant funds will support diversifying the educator pipeline from the college to Gwinnett schools, particularly in shortage areas such as middle and high school math and science teachers and elementary school teachers for English learners.
The grant funds are still processing, but the college has started recruiting students for the residency, which will launch at the start of next school year, college spokeswoman Jacqueline Todd said.
Through the residency program, students will be paired with a mentor and co-teach with them, gaining responsibility through the year, according to Anderson. The residency and subsequent two years of support are meant to ease the transition into an education career to retain teachers in high-needs schools, the news release states.