During the 2021 Legislative Session, Utah lawmakers passed an appropriations bill aimed at improving teacher retention in local districts. Governor Cox signed into law The Grow Your Own Teacher and School Counselor Pipeline Program, allocating $9.2 million over three years for implementation and study.
Murray City School District (MCSD) was granted $129,000 of the program funding to pay for scholarships and mentors for paraprofessionals and school counselor assistants. The objective is to facilitate professional growth and clear a pathway in which future teachers and counselors can be developed.
The Grow Your Own Teacher and School Counselor model has been used in other districts around the country and has demonstrated an excellent return, particularly for districts with staffing issues.
So far, MCSD has five participants:
- Brooklyn Hall: A current paraeducator at Longview Elementary, seeking an elementary education license
- Shelsie Luna – A current paraeducator at Parkside Elementary, seeking an elementary education license
- Natasha Ontiveros – A current paraeducator at Parkside Elementary, seeking a school counseling license
- Maria Stump – A current paraeducator at Hillcrest Jr. High, seeking a school counseling license
- Sunshine Szedeli – A current paraeducator at Grant Elementary, seeking an elementary education license
“We’re excited to see where this program takes our participants,” said Darren Dean, director of personnel and student services. “Like most districts, staffing and retention are big issues and we hope that this program will help us to grow and retain educators in Murray.”
Participants in the teacher track can receive up to $12,000 in tuition reimbursement per year, while counselors are offered up to $14,000. They also receive the 1:1 support and mentorship of a veteran teacher or counselor at Murray to help guide their progress.