Teachers are in short supply across the state and the country, but Greenup County has implemented new scholarships aimed at eliminating that problem.
Sarah Kelsey, Instructional Coordinator for Greenup County Schools, said that it was a part of Greenup County’s strategic plan to focus on its gold standard staff.
“And a part of that focus is to really look at teacher recruitment,” Kelsey said.
“Part of what we looked at was the need to ‘grow our own’ educators here in Greenup County. We have had a harder time getting applicants in Greenup County,” Kelsey said. “People don’t really move here in large numbers, so we thought we should focus on our own students and encourage them to go into education.”
Kelsey said this was the beginning of Greenup County’s “grow your own” initiative, a personalized version of an initiative that was going on across Kentucky.
“We applied for a grant from the state department for this program,” Kelsey said. “The grant was awarded to us for this school year, in the amount of $50,000.”
Kelsey said the grant will allow the school to offer scholarships to current and former students of Greenup County High School. “And that (the scholarships) was written into the grant, so we definitely wanted to move forward with this as quickly as possible.”
“It is difficult to attract people to apply here,” Kelsey said. “So, if we can support our students in their dreams and goals of becoming educators, we absolutely want to do that.”
As part of the scholarship program, students will be required to show that they have been accepted or are enrolled at a university, and any funding will be sent directly to that university for disbursement. Funds from the scholarship can go toward the purchase of books, tuition, housing, and other university related expenses. Currently the scholarships are a one-time scholarship, but they could be renewed for additional years, Kelsey said.
“The Greenup County educators have a small grant they award yearly for students who are going to become educators,” Kelsey said. “But that is for a single student, and this new grant gives us a chance to really boost that, at least for this year.”
Those qualifying for the new scholarships can be high school seniors or graduated students already enrolled and pursuing a degree. There is no time limit for graduated students, as long as they are Greenup County High School graduates and are enrolled for the fall semester.
“We are hoping to award four scholarships to current seniors, and an additional four scholarships to former graduates,” Kelsey said. “That will be a total of eight scholarships at $2,500 each.”
Kelsey said this year, a part of the “grow your own” initiative, Greenup Schools has started a partnership with Kentucky Christian University as well.
“High school students beginning their junior year can begin taking teacher educator courses,” Kelsey said. “These are dual credit courses through KCU, and students will be able to enter college with four credits in teacher education. And that’s one of the exciting things about this initiative, that we are looking at what can we do for these students while they are with us to start preparing them for their future.”
Kelsey said the students have an associated club called Ed Rising, which is an after-school function that allows them to do “mock” teacher-related activities.
“They might develop lesson plans or bulletin boards,” Kelsey said. High school students in the Ed Rising club can also go to KCU and join with current students in education and participate in some of their activities that are teacher or education related.
“That was phenomenal for them, and I believe that gave them an extra confidence boost as well,” Kelsey said. “We are very excited about the benefits this brings to the students and the school.”