Pawhuska Schools Offering Free Master’s Degree to Teachers

KTUL - October 26, 2022 6:31 am

Pawhuska Public Schools is offering a free master’s degree in education as an incentive for teachers in an effort to recruit and retain educators.

Last year, there were more than 1,000 teaching vacancies across the state, pushing school districts to find new ways to get and keep teachers.

“You know, like every school, our most critical need is always teachers,” said Pawhuska Public School Superintendent David Cash.

But unlike every school district, Pawhuska has just upped the ante on teacher incentives with a program for a free master’s degree.

“They sign a memorandum of understanding, ‘Hey, we understand you’re going to pick up the bill for the master’s degree, in return, we promise to stay and teach for four years.’ So, they have a four-year commitment,” he said.

“I think what Pawhuska is doing is great,” said Tulsa Public School Board Member John Croisant. He says Tulsa offers retention and sign-on bonuses for teachers and staff alike.

“If you can give an incentive to help retain teachers, that’s going to be really important to be able to not only have a better-educated work staff, but they’re also going to want to stay in your district longer,” he said.

Pawhuska’s master’s program is through Oklahoma Christian University.

“We looked at it; it’s a $10,000 investment, roughly, per teacher,” said Cash.

So far, two teachers have signed up for the program, and the superintendent says they’re not done thinking outside of the box.

“We’re looking to a program now for some of our paraprofessionals. If they have an associates degree well we can, we will pay for their bachelor’s degree if they’ll commit to teach here as well, so we’re looking into that program, it’s not quite finalized yet, but we’re hoping to get that done in the next six months,” Cash said.

Superintendent Cash also says participants are able to earn their master’s at their own pace as it fits into their schedule.


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