Greater Waco-area draws $2.2 million grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

From KXXV, December 3, 2020, by Garrett Hottle

Greater Waco will be utilizing a $2.2 million grant over three years from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the teacher workforce and the pipeline of qualified teachers in McLennan County.

An Opportunity Culture grant will fund a creative staffing model with a focus on supporting sustainable and affordable residencies for candidates at both the La Vega and Waco ISD school districts.

“The staffing model with Opportunity Culture will help build out our pipeline, because the identification of the master classroom leaders will be based on evidence and data,” said Dr. Hernandez-Gutierrez. “So you’re going to have your highest performing teacher in the system, training and supporting our new pipeline of teachers.”

Dr. Hernandez-Gutierrez says the Opportunity Culture model is something the district hasn’t used before.

“We have master teachers in our system, and we already work with a couple universities on developing new teachers, but this is really a different model because it targets the development of all our teachers,” she said. “It’s not only building our pipeline, but it’s also a career pathway that gives excellent teachers an opportunity to leadership roles on the campus.”

Public Impact, an education policy and consulting firm based in Chapel Hill, NC, will assist La Vega and Waco school districts in implementing the Opportunity Culture Program. The grant will also fund a coordinator position for each district.

“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already provided the funding for our opportunity culture director,” Dr. Hernandez-Gutierrez said. “So that money is going through Prosper Waco, and we just offered a offered the job to a director, and that person is going to start next week.” Read the full article…

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