GISD Announces Staff Advancement Program

Genesee Intermediate School District Announces Staff Advancement Programs
Posted on 07/24/2023
Student Doing Activity with Teacher Assistance

Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) is honored to announce multiple advancement opportunities for new and current staff members. Due to recent Grow Your Own (GYO) grant funding awarded to GISD by the State of Michigan Department of Education, GISD now offers a Degree Seeking grant, as well as a Para-Educator to Teacher (P2T) grant.  

At the end of May, the Michigan Department of Education awarded GISD $616,961 as part of the Future Proud Michigan Educator GYO staff grants. The state initiative is aimed at developing more teachers from within local school districts. 

The GYO staff grant will support approximately 25 aspiring teachers currently working as para-educators in special education classrooms and seven teachers wishing to earn an additional special education endorsement in either cognitive impairment or autism spectrum disorder. During the 2022-23 school year, GISD directly served over 1,000 Genesee County students in center-based programs. 

Current GISD staff have the opportunity to benefit from their own successful experiences. Para-Educators with a minimum of 60 college credits desiring to earn a bachelor’s degree with a teaching certificate will remain full-time employees while taking classes through our partner organization, the University of Michigan - Flint. Participating candidates will earn an early childhood or elementary education teaching certificate, and tuition will be paid by the GYO grant.

After completing a bachelor’s degree, and earning a teaching certificate, all candidates will then begin working toward their special education endorsement through Grand Valley State University. Again, all tuition will be paid by the GYO grant. Current teachers may also wish to add a special education endorsement to their teaching certificate through this grant opportunity. Providing staff these valuable opportunities will ultimately assist the GISD with meeting the need for special education teachers. 

“We are excited for the opportunity to provide additional resources to teacher preparation programs for our staff,” stated Deputy Superintendent Tricia Hill. “These programs are not only a pathway of hope for our support staff and teachers, but will also assist the GISD in filling open teacher positions. It’s a win-win!”

In addition to the Michigan Department of Education GYO grant, GISD also offers the P2T grant program that is fully funded by GISD. This program, which started in August of 2021, is available to new hires and current para-educators with a bachelor’s degree. Candidates are enrolled in an alternative certification pathway through a Michigan Department of Education approved provider. Currently, GISD works with #TEACH, a three-year program in which candidates are required to complete coursework and three years of teaching experience. Candidates will receive an elementary teaching certificate after successfully completing the program. Simultaneously, candidates are enrolled in graduate level courses at Grand Valley State University to attain a special education endorsement in either cognitive impairment or autism spectrum disorder. All candidates in this program commit to staying at GISD for six years. 

“There’s a magic that flows through these walls. All of the kids that we get to work with, all of the staff that I work alongside of, it makes me want to come to work every day,” stated Peter Verhaeghe, Para-Educator to Teacher (P2T) Teacher at Marion D. Crouse Instructional Center (MCIC). “Anyone who is even thinking about applying or advancing their career, I would tell them - just do it! This is somewhere that I believe in and it’s somewhere that I see further helping Genesee County and the revitalization of Flint.” 

Thanks to a partnership with state-approved educator preparation providers, University of Michigan – Flint and Grand Valley State University, GISD is able to cover the costs associated with each program. 

Several staff have already expressed interest in earning a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate or an additional endorsement. Currently, GISD has seven staff members beginning classes at the University of Michigan – Flint to begin working towards a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. We also have another seven teachers beginning classes towards an additional special education endorsement at Grand Valley State University. Applications are still being accepted for both programs.