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Richland gets grant to grow future teachers for Decatur schools
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Richland gets grant to grow future teachers for Decatur schools


DECATUR — Jumpstarting a desire among Decatur School District students to be educators and returning home to practice their trade is the goal behind a $240,000 state grant awarded to Richland Community College.

“The goal of this grant is to create an avenue to recruit students into the field of education, thus addressing the teacher shortage not only in Illinois, but also in Decatur Public Schools,” said Juanita Morris, director of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning at Richland.

The Career and Technical Education grant from the Illinois State Board of Education are part of the Education Career Pathway program. The Education Career Pathway is aimed at providing students with learning experiences and knowledge that prepare them to consider educator preparation programs at post-secondary institutions prior high school graduation.

Richland will work in partnership with Decatur Pubic Schools to support the formalization of the program.

“This partnership with Decatur Public Schools doesn’t just benefit the schools, the teachers, the students, and their families, but also benefits the broader community and society,” said the Rev. Courtney Carson, Richland’s executive director of External Affairs. “In today's innovative, courageously creative and changing economy, pathways opportunities provide students with the vision, experiences, and skills they desire and need to be successful in life. Students are also more engaged in their studies if it's connected to things they might do or want to do in their career,”

Ashley Grayned, executive director of Innovative Programs and Strategic Planning for Decatur schools, is excited about this opportunity.

“Decatur Public Schools is looking forward to building this program pathway with Richland as just another extension of a great partnership. It is vital to create a program that encourages education and focuses on recruitment and retention, continuing those life experiences and connections within our community. This grant will support the District’s Strategic Plan, which was already focused upon an exploratory teaching program. We are looking forward to helping our students jumpstart their futures in education.”

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Richland plans to introduce local professionals to adjunct faculty opportunities through an employment pipeline that includes a team of representatives for engagement, current professional development programs, a recruitment program and mentorship.

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