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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State leaders say they hope a new grant will help combat the teacher shortage in Oklahoma.

On Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced a $4.2 million grant that was awarded to the Oklahoma Chapter of Teach For America.

Officials say the grant will help the organization increase school effectiveness, build a strong pipeline of educators and address pandemic-related learning loss.

“We are thrilled to work with TFA to expand the footprint of their innovative and effective talent development model in our schools,” said Hofmeister. “Educators who work within the TFA model are results-driven individuals who connect deeply with students and families. These skills will be in high demand as we continue to leverage strategies to combat the teacher shortage, work to ensure students recapture unfinished learning and foster a sense of reconnection within school communities.” 

Organizers with TFA say they will tap into its alumni network to recruit and develop 50 teachers who will commit to working for two years in Oklahoma schools.

The organization also plans to recruit up to 20 tutors per semester from colleges and universities to support schools in a variety of ways, including academic coaching and small-group instruction.

“We are grateful to receive this generous grant to help us bring and develop more high-impact leaders to Oklahoma,” said Sarah Park, executive director of Teach For America Oklahoma City. “These next three years are crucial for teachers and school leaders to address learning loss and provide social-emotional support especially to students who have been most directly impacted by the pandemic. Additionally, we’re committed long-term to ensuring that more Oklahoma students are on track to reach key educational milestones.”