GISD receives grant funding, offers staff advancement programs for local educators

FLINT, Michigan — The Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) is encouraging new and present staff members to apply for a grant that promotes various career advancement opportunities. In May, the Michigan Department of Education awarded GISD with $616,961 as part of the Future Proud Michigan Educator 'Grow Your Own' (GYO) staff grants. The funding will assist with developing educators from within local districts. 

With more funding, GISD is now able to offer a Degree Seeking grant a Paraeducator to Teacher (P2T) grant in an effort to establish more teachers in the area. The GYO staff grant will support 25 paraeducators working in special education classrooms and seven teachers who desire to earn an additional special education endorsement in either cognitive impairment or autism spectrum disorder. 

The grant also supports partnerships between PK-12 schools and educator preparation providers for pathways to help school staff earn initial teacher certification, or for certified teachers to earn additional endorsements.

Paraeducators with at least 60 college credits desiring to earn a bachelor’s degree can remain full-time employees while taking classes through the University of Michigan-Flint. Participating candidates will acquire an early childhood or elementary education teaching certificate, and the GYO grant will pay tuition.

After completing a bachelor’s degree and earning a teaching certificate, all candidates can and are encouraged to begin working toward their special education endorsement through Grand Valley State University.

“Just do it!” encourages Peter Verhaeghe, Paraeducator to Teacher (P2T) Teacher at Marion D. Crouse Instructional Center (MCIC), to anyone thinking of applying or advancing their career in education. In a memo released to the public, Verhaeghe shares, "This is something that I believe in, and it’s an opportunity that I see further helping Genesee County and the revitalization of Flint.”

Applicants can apply for one or both grants within the same application and the GISD must submit applications. All applications will require a partnership with one or more educator preparation providers. Employees may be directly employed by the intermediate school district or contracted with a third-party staffing agency.

Grant funds may be used to support non-certificated employees working toward initial teacher certification or currently certified teachers looking to add an endorsement to a Michigan teaching certificate.

“What I love about it the most is that someone could come in with little to no higher education and work towards obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree and Teaching certificate,” shared Tricia Hill, Deputy Superintendant. “They may not have thought it was possible because of financial challenges or barriers. Still, with these grant dollars, they can do so for free while maintaining employment. It opens up flexibility for the staff members and us.”

Currently, GISD has seven staff members beginning classes at the University of Michigan–Flint to start working towards a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Another seven teachers will begin courses toward a special education endorsement at Grand Valley State University. 

Teachers and Paraeducators have until Jan 31, 2024, to submit applications.

To learn more about the GISD schools, educational programs, and employment opportunities, visit:
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Read more articles by Jarielle Tasha Nettles.