U.S. Department of Education Awards Reach $8.7 Million from University and TNTP to Train Certified, Qualified STEM Teachers in Arkansas’s Neediest Districts


In partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education, funding will support more than 650 diverse future educators through paid employment, teacher apprenticeship credentials, certifications, and full-time teaching roles .

SMALL ROCK, Ark., September 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Reach University, the national nonprofit leader in accredited, learning-based degrees for teachers, and TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project), a nonprofit organization that tackles education inequity. education in American schools, today announced receipt of a draft $8.7 million Grant from the U.S. Department of Education to accelerate the growth and impact of its teacher-preparation apprenticeship and licensing programs around the world Arkansas’ most needy communities.

Reach University, the national, nonprofit leader in accredited, learning-based degrees for teachers. (PRNewsfoto/Reach University)

With the right training and credentials, there are 1.3mm paraprofessionals who could fill 100% of the current workforce 300k vacant teaching positions.

Issued under the Department’s Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program and awarded in the wake of the administration’s recent announcement to use recorded learnings to meet staffing goals and teacher representation, the funding will serve more than 650 future educators, specializing in math, science and the English language arts over the next five years.

“The state of Arkansas invests heavily in smart teacher preparation and certification models that break down historical barriers to result in qualified, specialized, and diverse educators leading classrooms across the state. Reach and TNTP have been at the forefront of this effort, and this funding will take Great Rivers ESC from our greatest need to the highest example of how districts can develop their own representative teachers, ready for class,” said Karli SaraciniAssistant Commissioner for Educator Effectiveness at the Arkansas Department of Education.

The program offers three distinct pathways to education, offering those who have completed high school, community college, and/or an undergraduate degree a personalized, debt-free, certified path to the classroom and beyond.

For those without an undergraduate degree, the program gives districts the opportunity to develop their own educators by recruiting local talent to fill needed paraprofessional roles. Once the paraprofessional is hired, they will begin a job-integrated teacher apprenticeship, where their work leads to a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. Upon graduation, the paraprofessional will hold a full-time teaching position in the district.

“With the right training and the right degree, there are 1.3 million paraprofessionals who could fill 100% of the 300,000 public school teaching positions currently vacant. adult, we need to remove the forced choice between a job and a degree With Reach’s job-integrated undergraduate programs, “either/or” becomes “yes/and,” creating a new way for districts to think recruiting and developing talent and supporting each employee on the path to long-term career success. Arkansas is not only a leader in embracing teacher learning to solve its teacher shortage, but also starting with the communities that need it most,” said Dr. Mallory Dwinal-PalischChancellor, Reach University.

Reach’s credential teacher learnings offer a solution to long-standing issues of diversity and retention seen across the country and amplified in rural and low-income communities. The program ensures that districts can recruit a diverse candidate pool, in which at least 50 percent of program graduates and prospective teachers identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color. More than 90% of applicants are then hired and retained in their “home” district for at least five years. Population rates reflect other Reach district partners across Arkansas, Louisiana, California and Alabama.

“What is most exciting is that we alongside TNTP are using these funds today, day one,” said Joe Ross, President, Reach University. “Reach is already serving nearly 200 diverse future educators through our teacher apprenticeship credentials across co-ops across the state. With this funding, we will not only dramatically expand the pool of highly qualified and specialized teachers, but we’ll also equip Arkansans with debt-free, job-embedded degrees, opening up a new kind of post-secondary opportunity.”

The award of TQP funding also reinforces the value of fully integrated learning credentials and alternative pathways to credentials to address systemic teacher shortages. The grant will continue to support the integration of the final year of Reach’s undergraduate program and the first year of the TNTP, Arkansas Professional Educator Pathway (ArPEP).

“By providing both debt-free pathways to the classroom for future teachers and giving more students access to effective and diverse educators, this program will contribute to a brighter future in these communities,” said said Mr. Tequilla browniesCEO of TNTP and Arkansas native. “We are proud to be a partner in this work.”

Joint Onboarding has a strong focus on key mentorship with district-certified teachers and Reach’s award-winning teachers, many of whom are former Teachers and Principals of the Year. It also bridges ArPEP training and expands the curriculum beyond traditional graduate-level and teacher-certification courses.

“With Reach, we will leverage this funding to expand the Arkansas Professional Educator Pathway (ArPEP), providing a high-quality, faster, more affordable, and seamless integrated employment experience from BA to teaching certification. “, said Celena Siprajim, Partner, TNTP.

TQP funding will serve future educators who will shape the educational experience and success of approximately 13,000 learners, across 34 schools and 10 Great Rivers ESC districts throughout the five-year grant period, while solving systemic challenges of recruiting and retaining qualified, specialized and ready-to-use teachers. in Arkansas rural communities.

The program will soon expand to other needy communities in the southern and southeastern parts of the state, where Reach University already works and uses state and federal workforce development funds. to train future educators.


Reach University is a regionally accredited, not-for-profit university that is at the forefront of debt-free learning-based degrees. Reach is actively solving the teacher shortage in the United States by creating fully integrated pathways for people with high potential to earn degrees, diplomas, and teaching jobs within their own communities. By focusing on low-income, urban and rural areas, offering online courseware and courses, and awarding academic credit for on-the-job experience, Reach University is breaking down barriers to entry into high-needs occupations and create your own. locally representative talent pool.


TNTP believes that our country’s public schools can provide all children with an excellent education. A national nonprofit organization founded by teachers, we help school systems end educational inequity. We work at all levels of the public education system to attract and develop talented teachers and school leaders, ensure rigorous and engaging classrooms, and create environments that prioritize quality teaching and accelerate student learning. students. Since 1997, we have partnered with hundreds of public school districts, charter school networks, and state departments of education. We have recruited or trained over 50,000 teachers and inspired policy change through acclaimed studies such as The Mirage (2015), The Irreplaceables (2012) and The Widget Effect (2009). Our latest report, The Opportunity Myth (2018), followed nearly 4,000 students in five different school systems to learn more about their experiences in school. Today, TNTP works directly with more than 300 school systems in 35 states.

Contact information:
reach university
Lauren Bauml
(512) 923 – 6136



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SOURCE Reaching University


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