Federal relief funding to pay eligible Oklahoma college Students for Their Work as a Student Teacher

Mike Seals - August 9, 2021 11:18 am

OSDE using $12.75 million in relief funds
for paid student teaching

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 9, 2021) – To ensure students have access to well-prepared teachers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) will use $12.75 million in federal relief funding to pay eligible Oklahoma college students for their work as student teachers.  

The OSDE partnership with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) is believed to be the first time Oklahoma student teachers have been compensated for their work. 

“The traditional model of student teaching can be a major barrier for students who are supporting a family and cannot go without a paid job for months. This initiative will ensure teacher candidates can instead focus on their student teaching experience,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “We must do everything in our power to not only maintain but strengthen the pipeline of highly trained educators.” 

University of Central Oklahoma English education student SaVone Blue of Lawton said receiving payment for student teaching would be a game-changer. 

“Members of my student teaching cohort and I had been talking about how we were going to be able to make it work financially. We were very concerned about three to four months of no income. When we learned about the paid student teaching initiative, we were shocked but so grateful,” said Blue, who will be student teaching at Southeast High School in Oklahoma City Public Schools this fall. “It alleviates a lot of pressure. Because of this funding, I can give my all to the experience, into planning lessons and making sure I can give my students what they deserve – a great education.” 

Robin Fuxa, the director of professional education at Oklahoma State University, said the benefits of compensating student teachers will reach beyond current education majors. 

“I’m thrilled that the OSDE has prioritized this critical recruitment and retention need for Oklahoma’s university teacher education programs. For transfer students or undecided majors, the promise of these funds over the next three years will help tip the scales toward choosing an education major,” said Fuxa. “Ultimately, because the latter half of the funding is tied to Oklahoma public school employment, our public schoolchildren will be the true beneficiaries.” 

Over the next three school years (2021-22 through 2023-24), the initiative will provide up to $3,250 payments to an estimated 1,300 qualified student teachers per year enrolled at Oklahoma college and university Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs). The EPP will issue the first $1,625 by the first week of student teaching. The final $1,625 payment will be paid by the Oklahoma public school district hiring the candidate. 

The Paid Student Teaching initiative is a component of Ready Together Oklahoma: An Action Plan for Supporting Students Through the Pandemic and Beyond. The OSDE launched the recovery plan in May with a growing portfolio of curated online resources to support schools and communities as they collectively leverage the best uses of federal relief funds. Learn more about the Paid Student Teaching initiative in this FAQ document. 

 

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