Weekly roundup: Classified staff grant program pays off, revisiting the state’s funding formula, and more

A state program that seeks to address California’s teacher shortage by training school employees to become classroom teachers appears to be paying off.

The California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program has helped turn nearly 300 classified staff members into credentialed instructors, and thousands of additional candidates are in the pipeline, according to a new report from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Teacher with students in a classroomClassified staff include instructional assistants, office workers, technicians, custodians, IT professionals and other non-credentialed school and district employees.

Since 2016, lawmakers have allocated $45 million for this initiative, which is intended to offset tuition costs for candidates who want to become teachers and already have some school experience. The state’s teacher shortage has been well documented in recent years, and finding science, math and special education teachers has become particularly challenging.

The Orange County Department of Education is among the agencies that have been tapped by the state to award grants to classified employees.

And here are some additional stories from the week ending Jan. 10:

  • Lawmakers in California are looking for ways to make school spending more transparent under the Local Control Funding Formula. A work group commissioned by the state superintendent will recommend ways to ensure the funding model is serving the students it was intended to support, including English learners, low-income students and foster youth.
  • For the third year in a row, Santa Ana High School music teacher Victor de los Santos has been named one of 10 finalists nationwide for the Grammy Music Educator Award. The accolade is presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum.
  • A USA Today series on Latinos living in the United States says more schools are teaching in English and Spanish, but additional work is needed to help elevate children from diverse backgrounds.
  • And finally, author and performer Joy Harjo, who was recently named the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, will be the featured speaker at next month’s 11th annual Creative Edge Lecture. Interest has been pretty high in this, and in fact we’re told it’s already at capacity.

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