Charleston Co. Accelerator Schools Receives $50,000 Teacher Retention and Morale Grant
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) — Teaching during the pandemic has brought educators many new challenges and stressors, leading some to quit smoking in the classroom.
The Charleston County School District is implementing a new program at its acceleration schools that will draw attention to teacher burnout, low morale and retention.
CCSD is one of 13 other districts nationwide to receive a $50,000 grant.
This grant is awarded by the Novo Foundation. The district said it goes to all 15 CCSD acceleration schools. The district said these schools are generally underperforming in academics.
Teachers receiving this grant said they appreciated the extra boost.
“It’s a way for us to bring teachers together and explore teacher retention issues and concerns about teacher morale,” said Jacqueline Haynes, Associate Superintendent of Acceleration Schools at CCDS.
The goal of the grant, according to the district, is to help teachers connect and collaborate to help solve the challenges educators in these schools face.
“When you work with Title I students and Title I schools every day and you have an associate superintendent just throwing at you like, ‘We need this program. We need this program, ‘We really need to pay attention to teacher morale.’
Mike Diana is a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Simmons-PInckey Middle School. He said he is looking forward to this new program as he said it gives teachers a chance to voice their difficulties and find solutions.
“Sometimes you don’t feel listened to. You know it’s a big district, especially with a school like this where the students have a lot of needs, it’s extremely important to get the teacher’s input and to really feel what it’s like every day said Diana.
Diana said working in a Title I school comes with unique responsibilities, which he says end up falling on teachers and making their job a bit more stressful.
“It feels like there’s a lot of weight on us, and when you put that extra pressure it can sometimes spill over into the classroom and even affect the learning in the room,” Diana said.
Teachers will meet in groups, sometimes during the day or after school, to talk about their needs and find healthy ways for the district to meet them.
“That may mean bringing in a guest speaker or two so we have these conversations like, ‘What does it take to keep the teachers here? “, Haynes said.
District leaders said the grant comes at an ideal time after an intense time teachers have experienced during the pandemic, which Diana said really hopes to make a difference.
“To hear that there’s a willingness to kind of look at the situation that we have right now and try to address some of the stressors in this overwhelming area that some teachers have, I think that’s very good” , said Diana.
The first session for teachers of the new program will take place on Tuesday, March 29.
The district said teachers will be compensated for the time they spend on these studies and classes when they take place outside of school hours.
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