Nonprofit, online university Western Governors University (WGU) and San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) announce the TEACH-LEAD San Diego Teacher Pathway Scholarship, designed to eliminate the barriers that hold future educators back from pursuing their goals. The scholarship is open to new and returning WGU students enrolled with the Teacher's College and are currently employed as a paraeducator with SDUSD.
Paraeducators, also known as teaching assistants, work under the supervision of credentialed teachers. However, as practitioners juggle larger classrooms, the responsibility of instruction has increasingly fallen on paraeducators. This scholarship will help improve their skill set in the classroom while obtaining the required credentials to become certified teachers.
“Paraeducators are excellent candidates for future teachers as they have already demonstrated the desire and skills to help children learn and grow,” said San Diego Unified School District’s Chief Human Resource Officer, Acacia Thede.
Recipients of this scholarship will be a part of the "grow your own" educator pipeline program, TEACH-LEAD San Diego, which supports individuals in becoming teachers in their local communities. The goal of this program is to onboard certified practitioners to improve diversity among the teaching staff. As California's second-largest district, SDUSD serves more than 100,000 students and represents 15 ethnic groups.
According to Ed-Data, in 2020-2021, 77.5% of SDUSD students are ethnically diverse, with only 36% of teachers falling into that same category. Programs like TEACH-LEAD San Diego help fill that gap by increasing representation among teachers and leaders. Studies have shown that all students benefit from access to teachers and leaders who look like them and may have similar life experiences.
“This partnership supports a mutual belief in growing and preparing the next generation of teachers and leaders. We are committed to supporting new staffing patterns that will build a well-rounded teaching community for our students,” said Patrizia Zary, WGU’s Senior Strategic Partnerships Manager.
Additionally, it will increase equity and inclusion by eliminating barriers, such as financial constraints, time commitments, and the flexibility of class schedules by creating a clear pathway to becoming a teacher. Students enrolled in this program will no longer have to choose between employment or education, opening the door to building inclusive and stable workforces by addressing equity gaps and barriers to degree attainment. WGU’s online competency-based model provides the flexibility to enable the students to complete their degree and related certificates in only 18 to 24 months.
WGU's Director of Regional Operations - West Region, Bob Benson, said, "WGU is an affordable and flexible option for learners that are interested in accelerating at their own pace while graduating with little or no debt. The many benefits include robust scholarship opportunities, a program mentor for each student, and a competency-based format, which allows students to complete a course as soon as they have shown mastery of the material, allowing them to move forward as desired."
If you are currently a SDUSD employee interested in applying for the TEACH-LEAD San Diego Teacher Pathway Scholarship through November 15, 2022, please contact Patrizia Zary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidates can learn more about SDUSD’s TEACH- LEAD San Diego Pipeline to diversify the teacher and leader workforce at www.sandi.net/TeachLeadSD.