Overall, Grand Island Public lacks education professionals | Grand Island Local News

Kristin Irey, director of human resources for Grand Island Public Schools, said it’s a “pipeline problem” that GIPS is working to address from the inside, especially paraeducators looking for more opportunities.

“(Paraeducators) tend to be entry-level positions, lower pay, and lower educational requirements,” Irey said. Grand Island Public Schools has partnered with Wayne State College and Chadron State College to help paraeducators grow their careers. “They have a few programs designed for para-teachers, curated for exactly what you need to go through the process of transitioning from a para-educator role to a fully certified educator role.

“In early childhood education, the real devastation is in the paras and school aides. As a society, we place very little monetary value on early childhood. (GIPS pays) as much as we can. We pay more than daycares because we have a more developed program and resources and subsidies that we rely on.

Irey said some of these resources are intended to help GIPS develop its own teachers, which is still in the planning stage. “By working with these schools and our employees, we’re really helping employees create more of that pipeline. We develop that loyalty and enthusiasm with Grand Island Public Schools.

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There are many opportunities for growth in early childhood education. Beth Hubl, a teacher at the Early Learning Center at GIPS, has a master’s degree and two honors, including training in special education. Early childhood teachers benefit from versatility. “A lot of the skills you learn from having special education training that you use with all the preschoolers.”

Amy Richards, GIPS Early Childhood Coordinator, echoed the need for versatility. “Our teachers not only function as general education or classroom teachers, but they also provide this specialist instruction to our students. We do it because we know it works best for preschoolers. They should have these services in place in the classroom as part of their regular day. »

Not everyone interested in early childhood education needs to have a master’s degree like Hubl. Irey said the most important quality someone who wants to get into early childhood education cannot have is a degree.

“We are looking for someone who is passionate about work, passionate about children, committed and enthusiastic. Anyone who meets the minimum hiring requirements and has a willingness to learn, we love having these people. »

Early childhood education, said Hubl, is a great opportunity to make a difference.

“Think of the difference you can make when they’re young: if we need to help children as they grow up because they’re falling behind or struggling, it probably goes back to their early years of school. childhood, and how their brains developed during those early childhood years…whether they had enough stimulation, whether they heard enough language, whether there were socio-emotional connections, good relationships with the adults…it all probably goes back to the early years.

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