UCR School of Education Receives $1 Million Grant
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The UC Riverside School of Education is set to receive a $1 million grant from an Inland Empire collaborative group. This funding will bolster ongoing efforts to tackle the California teacher shortage and promote diversity within the teacher workforce. Specifically, the grant, provided by the Inland Empire Regional K-16 Education Collaborative, will support a program aimed at improving educational attainment levels among under represented populations in the region and addressing the significant under representation of Black and Hispanic teachers in K-12 schools.

Raquel M. Rall, associate professor and associate dean of strategic initiatives in the UCR School of Education, emphasized the importance of workforce diversification in alignment with the evolving demographic landscape.

“This holds particularly true in the classroom, where diverse experiences, backgrounds, perspectives, and ways of knowing enrich the learning environment, particularly benefiting students of color who often lack teachers that resemble them,” explained Rall, who serves as the principal investigator for this grant. Frances Valdovinos, assistant dean and director of the UCR teacher education program, along with Austin Johnson, associate dean of undergraduate education, serve as co-principal investigators.

With this funding, the School of Education will collaborate with the Coachella Valley Unified School District, College of the Desert, Riverside Unified School District, and Riverside City College. Their objective is to attract, support, and offer a clear pathway for high school students interested in pursuing teaching careers in their home towns, where they have strong community ties.

“This partnership among districts, community colleges, and the UCR School of Education will contribute to fostering a more diverse teacher workforce in Riverside County,” remarked Kelly Kraus-Lee, the School of Education’s senior director of development, who managed the grant submission process.

“We are appreciative of the funding and eagerly anticipate advancing more equitable practices in education throughout the region,” added Kraus-Lee.

The Inland Empire Regional K-16 Education Collaborative is affiliated with the California Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program, made possible by a $250 million state allocation in the Budget Act of 2021. UCR was among nine educational institutions in the Inland Empire awarded grants by the collaborative.

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