A former elementary school teacher’s funding effort means the local elementary and middle school district will be able to hire and train 20 new teachers.
That former teacher, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston), gave Evanston/Skokie District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton one of those over-sized cardboard checks on Monday afternoon, representing $600,000 real dollars.
The money will help fund another year of District 65’s CREATE program, the Collaborative Residency for Achievement and Equity.
“This is exciting,” Horton said, noting there is a teacher shortage across the country.
In the residency program, now wrapping up its first year, participants teach in a District 65 school Mondays through Thursdays for an entire school year, under the supervision of experienced educators.
The residents also take classes, and earn a master’s degree from either Northwestern University or National Louis University.
Each participant receives a $30,000 stipend, which is $30,000 more than the traditional student teacher gets.
Plus, each graduate is guaranteed a job in District 65, which they promise to keep for four years.
Horton implemented similar residencies in East St. Louis and in Louisville, Kentucky, where he worked before coming to Evanston.
“I started as an elementary school teacher,” Schakowsky said, adding she was “thrilled to help District 65” continue the residency program.
Schakowsky said the $600,000 came as a result of her request for Community Projects Funding, part of the recently signed 2022 omnibus appropriations bill.
Making it through teacher residency is not easy. Seven of the original 19 this year have left the program.
But half of those remaining are in hard-to-fill areas, such as bilingual education and special ed.
In addition, the majority of teacher residents are individuals of color. Attracting more Black and brown educators is a priority for the district.