Red Clay's first cohort at WilmU will be in the fall.

Red Clay, Wilm U partner for program to create more teachers

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

Red Clay's first cohort at WilmU will be in the fall.

Red Clay’s first cohort at WilmU will be in the fall.

Red Clay Consolidated School District is joining forces with Wilmington University to combat the ongoing teacher shortage.

District superintendent Dorrell Green told the board an exclusive partnership with Wilm U will create alternate paths for Red Clay workers to get their teacher certification.

 The program will start this fall. 

“As we know, again, the teacher and educator shortage tends to be a challenge and a lot of that also has to deal with certification,” Green said.

The teacher shortage has been a focus of educational and governmental groups for several years. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many teachers and substitutes leaving the field, and educators have said that there are fewer college education majors.

As that’s happened, surrounding states have been raising the starting salaries of teachers, forcing the state of Delaware to look at its education pay structure, too.

The employees who may want to get their certification could come from many jobs, including  paraprofessionals or secretaries.

This partnership is an outcome of a recent grant program funded by the Delaware Department of Education to provide no-cost preparation to teacher candidates employed in the district.

Green said the first group of employees will take online classes this fall.

Pathways that will be available include certificates for k-12 special education, early childhood exceptional teacher, paraeducator to teacher alternative route to certification and traditional dual certified alternative route to certification programs.  

“This offers Red Clay employees a combination of benefits including discounted tuition, eligibility to apply for financial aid and eligibility for tuition reimbursement,” Green said. 

Red Clay annual budget

Ted Ammann, Red Clay’s chief operating officer, presented the preliminary budget for next year, which totals $350,268,600. 

Here’s how the money will be spent: 

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The board will vote whether to approve the budget in August. 

Red Clay’s board also approved next year’s tax rate, which is unchanged from the 2022-2023 school year. The rate is $2.298 per $100 of assessed property value for Red Clay residents.

New board officers

The district was the latest to elect new board officers. Jose Matthews was chosen as board president, replacing Kecia Nesmith, and Vic Leonard was elected board vice president.

“I was surprised to learn of my election and am honored to have the trust of my colleagues to serve in this capacity,” Matthews said after the meeting. “I enjoyed the learning experience and role of Vice President and look forward to serving in this new role under the same mindset of collaboration and engagement, followed by swift action to meet the needs of our students.

Overall, this is an exciting time for Red Clay, he said.

“Through the many confines and historical challenges the board faces, I’m looking most forward to turning a new and work ahead,” he said.

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