Woodstock School District 200 receives grant to start teacher residency program

The Illinois State Board of Education granted Woodstock School District 200 a Teacher Residency Planning Grant for the upcoming school year.

The grant, worth $50,000, will allow the district to create a proposal for how the residency program would work.

The district is eligible to receive a $200,000 grant for the 2020-21 school year if the proposal meets ISBE requirements, according to an ISBE news release.

The teacher residency would be a yearlong program and include candidates being placed at District 200 schools while they take night classes at Aurora University Woodstock Center.

A typical student-teaching program is about three months, said Keely Krueger, District 200 assistant superintendent for early childhood and elementary education.

The state started the grant program because of a teacher shortage in Illinois, Krueger said.

District 200 will begin looking for 10 to 12 candidates for the program, in addition to teachers who will train as mentors for the residents in the fall. The hope is to hire the candidates after they finish the program.

State Rep. Steve Reick said the grant is welcome news for the district.

“Schools in McHenry County and across Illinois have faced chronic teacher shortages for years, placing burdens on school faculty and students alike,” Reick said in a news release. “Encouraging new types of training, such as this residency program, will give teachers the training they need to succeed, and ultimately produce better learning environments for students.”

It’s a problem across the country to find teachers certified in English as a second language, Krueger said. About one-third of the students in District 200 are enrolled in dual language classes.

District 200 will focus this program on the elementary school level, Krueger said.

As of 2018, District 200 had 6,419 students enrolled and 400 full-time teachers, according to ISBE.

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