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PEF and Study.com Partner to Address CCSD Teacher Shortage
(Through the partnership, Study.com will donate $72,000 in test prep scholarships to PEF Teacher Pathway participants)
The Public Education Foundation (PEF) is partnering with Study.com, a national edtech platform, to launch Keys to the Classroom in Southern Nevada, an education initiative aimed at unlocking opportunities for aspiring educators who are preparing for certification tests to earn their teaching credential.
Through this partnership, Study.com will donate $72,000 (equating to 100 licenses) in comprehensive, cost-free materials and resources to aspiring Support Professionals enrolled in PEF’s Teacher Pathway program to help them prepare and pass their teacher certification tests. The 100 teacher test prep licenses will be distributed to Teacher Pathway mentees who, historically, face obstacles passing the PRAXIS exam.
“PEF appreciates Study.com’s commitment to social impact and its philanthropic efforts via their Pledge 1%, Keys to the Classroom aims to ensure Clark County School District CCSD support professionals of all backgrounds and ethnicities can access the teaching profession,” said Grant Hanevold, PEF Chief Education Officer of PEF. “This partnership with Study.com will also allow PEF the opportunity to continue to advance its recruitment, development, and retainment efforts across our state, provide opportunities and access that mitigate educational disparities, and accelerate the certification process for many prospective teachers.”
The national teacher shortage has become a crisis during the pandemic as teachers have dealt with the burden of online/hybrid instruction, increasing social-emotional needs of students, increasing concerns about school safety, and more “other duties as assigned” that come along with a workforce shortage. The problem is particularly acute in the Clark County School District (CCSD), which currently has more than 1,400 teacher openings, affecting at least 45,000 students. There is no expectation that the crisis will end without intensive intervention.
PEF is teaming with partners throughout the community on a “Grow Your Own” community wide initiative called Teacher Pathway that will increase the number of teachers in Nevada’s classrooms by cultivating a diverse, motivated, and local cohort of teacher candidates. This program will lift participants out of poverty and fill classrooms with qualified teachers. Targeting diverse candidates who look more like the students they will serve is a priority for the Teacher Pathway. We recognize our participants experience a myriad of challenges that come with living in poverty and juggling the priorities of people several years into their careers (families, living situations, etc.). The Teacher Pathway mentorship program will pair teacher candidates with master educators who will work with them to overcome the barriers to becoming teachers. These support professionals are overwhelmingly diverse, invested in our community, and understand (and look like) the student population we serve.
One barrier for aspiring teachers is passing their teacher certification tests, such as the PRAXIS. In fact, according to a 2019 report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, half of teachers fail their first certification exam and a quarter never pass, as compared to 92% of teachers who used Study.com’s test prep resources and reported passing their test on the first try.
Keys to the Classroom will provide resources to reduce the teacher shortage, while emphasizing a strong commitment to diversifying the teacher pipeline in CCSD. The importance of recruiting and retaining local teachers who understand and represent the diversity of the students we serve is paramount. Studies show that students from diverse backgrounds perform better on standardized tests, have improved attendance, and are suspended less frequently when they have at least one same-race teacher. Yet teacher education programs pose particular challenges to low-income students. The cost of tuition, the loss of wages during student teaching, and the fees associated with college applications, tutoring, testing, and fingerprinting effectively bar access to the teaching profession for most low-income people. Study.com and PEF will aim to address these issues through partnering with statewide education organizations committed to diversifying the teacher pipeline.
“Representation in the classroom is critical, as studies show that students are more likely to succeed when they have teachers who look like them,” says Study.com’s VP of Social Impact Dana Bryson. “Our goal with bringing Keys to the Classroom to PEF and /CCSD is to diversify the teacher pipeline and help reduce the teacher shortage by removing some of the barriers to becoming a teacher.”
The Keys to the Classroom initiative is part of Study.com’s commitment to Pledge 1%, a corporate philanthropy movement dedicated to making the community a key stakeholder in every business. Pledge 1% continues the company’s commitment to making education accessible through social impact programs focused on increasing access and equity in education for underserved learners, non-traditional students, and educators.
For more information on Study.com’s Keys to the Classroom scholarship, please visit https://study.com/blog/study-com-s-keys-to-the-classroom.html.
Current PEF Teacher Pathway participants, please check your email for a code to access your free Praxis study materials!