OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Omaha Public Schools (OPS) is addressing the national teacher shortage by creating new efforts to retain and recruit educators, and in turn benefiting its students.
One way is through summer school, or what OPS calls Next Level Learning. The district wanted to give students additional educational opportunities they have missed due to the pandemic.
They will have no lack of educators this summer as they were able to bump summer pay up from $28.50 an hour to $40 an hour through ESSER funding.
"We have such dedicated teachers who are committed to students year around, and this is one other way that we can continue to provide a layer of support for both our students and our teachers,” Vicky Munoz with OPS Human Resources said. “So, this is a very exciting initiative and we're so happy to be supporting our teachers and students through our summer school programs and the pay associated with it."
It is also providing financial support for paraprofessionals to become teachers and offering students in the district who are interested in becoming future educators summer internship opportunities.
College student teachers are also receiving stipends for $9,000 a semester, and $4,500 for half a semester.
"We very much value those going into education and making a commitment to our students,” Munoz said. “So, the student teacher stipend is really to encourage our student teachers to be able to focus on their instruction and their day-to-day work with students so they can give everything that they have into learning all the methods, techniques and lessons they can in that student teaching experience."