First Cohort of the Des Moines Public Schools-Grand View Paraeducator Program Underway
This article includes information about the Des Moines Public Schools and Grand View University Paraeducator Program from:
Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS), the largest Iowa district with more than 33,000 students at 60+ schools, has created a Paraeducator Program along with Grand View University, a private university in Greater Des Moines (DSM). This new pathway for high school graduates required support to make it possible for students, and thanks to a new state grant program, the Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Grant Program, the DMPS-Grand View partnership can tackle the teacher shortage and create a solution for the long-term systemic issue.
The grant was originally supposed to be funded at $9 million, but will now be funded at $45.6 million. The grant provides a path for high schoolers and adults to earn a paraeducator certificate and Bachelor’s degree. It will also help paraeducators to work towards their bachelor’s degree while they are working in the classroom. Lindsay P. Grow, Ed. D., Associate Professor and Education Department Chair at Grand View, said that the partnership with DMPS opens the door for different types of students and makes a commitment to diversifying the teaching population. The Grand View education department’s vision statement below ties into how the university hopes to find strategic ways to diversify the teaching population in DSM.
Grand View’s Teacher Education Program EMPOWERS teachers, through vibrant learning communities and self-reflection, to be INNOVATIVE, CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE, and RESOURCEFUL LEADERS who are empowered to respond to the dynamic needs of learners for a global society.
For full-time students, classes are typically during the day, but for students within the program there are classes in the evening, online classes and summer classes that help them work around possible work schedules. The DMPS-Grand View partnership makes a point to focus on communication so that both entities can meet the expectations of the grant program.
Grow Your Own at DMPS
Peter LeBlanc, Director of Talent Support, and Theron Hobbs Jr., Recruitment and Retention Coordinator at DMPS, said that furthering their efforts to “grow your own” and create opportunities to develop talent among interested students. Partnerships with Drake University and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) have, in the past, assisted persons who want to become teachers and served as steppingstones as they worked to build a pathway for those persons through the new DMPS-Grand View partnership.
The new cohort of students participating in the Paraeducator Program is already now in full swing. Students were chosen based on an in-person interview process, and DMPS is eager to get into the program. There are vacancies that could be filled by individuals in the program after successful completion of the program.
Learn more about this pilot program here.
Dr. Lindsay Grow is Associate Professor of Education and Department Chair at Grand View University. She has expertise in literacy and serves as faculty advisor for the Bilingual Education Student Organization. She is passionate about creating opportunities for bicultural and multilingual students.
Peter LeBlanc is the Director of Talent Support for Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) where he provides leadership and development support to central office, networks, school-based administrators and teacher-leaders.
Theron Hobbs, Jr. supports the Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) district as the Recruitment and Retention Coordinator. Prior to his current role, he served students, students’ families, district staff and community stakeholders of DMPS as a Community School Coordinator during four school years. Hobbs is driven by opportunities to ensure individuals experience being seen, heard and valued as well as equipped to thrive.
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