Teacher Retention Grant
Staffing shortages in the teaching profession have consistently been a challenge for a number of years, and there is every reason to believe that COVID-19 is only exacerbating the problem. To address these challenges, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has designated over $50 million in state reserve funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund to establish teacher recruitment and retention grants for local education agencies and teacher education programs. The goal of these grants are to attract more people to the profession and provide greater support for our existing teachers to improve teacher retention.
The Hancock Place School District applied for a Teacher Retention Grant from this program, and was recently awarded the grant from DESE. Hancock Place School District will receive a total of $77,600.00 paid in equal parts of $25,866.66 over the next three years. The district used a prior school culture survey from Patron Insight as well as a recent local survey to gather input from existing staff on what strategies they would like to see implemented to provide greater support for our existing teachers. The overwhelming majority requested grant revenue to be used for hiring more substitute teachers. Teachers have been losing their planning periods due to the lack of available substitute teachers, and the additional substitutes could help to allay these frustrations. Teaching staff also listed numerous efforts that were already underway including continuing tuition reimbursement, and continuing stipends for mentors and Nationally Board Certified teachers. As these suggestions were all allowable expenses under the Teacher Retention Grant, the district will use the $25,866.66 over the next three years to hire more substitute teachers; to continue the practice of posting extra sub positions daily; and to supplant $12,500.00 annually to pay the stipends of our five Nationally Board Certified Teachers.