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Special Education COOP Receives Funding to Train More Special Education Teachers

Special Education COOP Receives Funding to Train More Special Education Teachers

Sherburne Northern Wright Special Education Cooperative, along with Member Districts Monticello, Becker and Big Lake, Receives Minnesota Department of Education Grant

MONTICELLO, Minn. (March 19, 2024) – Sherburne Northern Wright Special Education Cooperative (SNWSEC or COOP), in partnership with its member districts Monticello, Becker and Big Lake, has been awarded a $750,000 Special Education Teacher Pipeline grant from the Minnesota Department of Education.

The SNWSEC special education teacher pipeline program will focus on providing eight employees – each year for up to five years – with tuition assistance so that they can become a fully licensed special education teacher. Specifically, the program supports Tier 1 or 2 teachers and/or paraprofessionals who wish to become a Tier 3 or 4 special education teacher, and the COOP hopes to add 12 fully licensed special education teachers by the end of 2028.

“We are honored to receive this funding from MDE,” says John Weekley, SNWSEC Director of Special Education. “There is a shortage of special education teachers throughout the state, as well as an increase in special education students. This funding will ensure that students with Individualized Educational Plans are being fully served.”

The grant activities will occur over a five year period, from February 26, 2024 to January 31, 2029, ultimately helping the COOP to: 1) recruit and enroll existing employees in the program, 2) establish educational partnerships with a teacher preparation program and 3) provide tuition assistance and wrap-around support, including mentoring, for program participants.