STATEWIDE — The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has been awarded a $1 million grant in an effort to help retain special education teachers in its schools.
According to an Aug. 17 release, VDOE stated that school divisions across the Commonwealth are facing a critical shortage of special education teachers. The grant from the Office of Special Education Programs, which is a branch of the U.S. Department of Education, will go towards recruitment, development and retention of special education teachers.
“Special education has been the commonwealth’s most pressing critical shortage area for 15 consecutive years,” James Lane, VDOE’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, said. “Reducing turnover and retaining special educators is even more critical now as all of the commonwealth’s schools prepare to reopen for in-person instruction and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, especially on students with disabilities and other vulnerable learners.”
The grant will focus on two to three school divisions facing dire shortages to help stop the high turnover rate among the special education teachers. It will also assist in creating evidence-based classroom systems and defusing disruptive behavior. The school divisions slated to received the funding will be announced later this year.
“Special education is one of the most rewarding teaching fields but it also can be one of the most challenging,” Lane said. “Our efforts to reduce turnover among special educators are grounded in the research that shows that when teachers are prepared to successfully manage the challenges, they are more likely to stay in the classroom.”
For information on special education in Virginia’s public schools, check out the VDOE website.