PA Announces $1.5 Million in Grants to Attract more Special Education Teachers

The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced that $1.5 million in grant funding is available to institutions of higher education (IHE) that partner with school districts to expedite the process to become a special education teacher.

“As we work to create a pipeline of high-quality educators in the Commonwealth, it is critical that we create partnerships to support schools and today’s learners,” said Acting Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “This grant funding will enable schools to meet their unique staffing needs and provide more opportunities for flexible, accelerated certification for prospective educators.”

Pennsylvania is facing a major shortage of educators across the state. A decade ago, roughly 20,000 teacher certifications were issued each year, while in 2021 only about 6,000 were issued.

Through the Accelerated Program for PK-12 Special Education Teacher Certification, grants are available to colleges and universities with approved PK-12 special education certification programs to partner with at least one school district, approved private school, career and technical center, charter school, cyber charter school, or intermediate unit to provide individuals who currently hold bachelor’s degrees with summer field experiences, mentoring by experienced special educators during the school year, and deliver a postbaccalaureate program for PK-12 special education teacher certification within 18 months. Programs must offer most of the coursework during summer 2023 and summer 2024; provide a combination of in-person and virtual options for flexibility and support to the accelerated program participants working full-time; and ensure a minimum of 12 weeks of student teaching.

The maximum grant award for IHEs is $100,000 and the funds are available through December 31, 2024. IHEs should apply through the Attract-Prepare-Retain (APR) Repository by April 7, 2023. A webinar will be held on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM, and the session will be recorded and made available on the APR Repository.