EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Canyons School District launch scholarship program to encourage teaching careers

Aug 23, 2023, 6:00 AM

The Canyons School District is pictured. Its starting the year with a teacher shortage...

Canyons School District offices are pictured in Sandy on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Canyons School District is combatting the teacher shortage in its own way, offering a scholarship program to part-time classroom aides to pursue teaching careers.

The Aspiring Canyons Educator scholarship encourages non-teaching district employees to pursue college degrees in the education field.

The scholarship program is what the district calls, a “home-grown strategy” to combat the teacher shortage. It’s funded by employees within the district. Through a payroll deduction program employees can allocate a specific amount of their paycheck to the fund. With upwards of 6,000 employees donating as little as $1 a paycheck, the district can raise more than $12,000 a month.

The scholarship will provide up to $5,000 in annual tuition assistance for employees enrolled in post-secondary education. To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be a graduate of and work for the district. As well as be enrolled in a college-level education prep program.

“We’re trying to get people who come to work at Canyons as a paraeducator who would like to continue their education,” said Linda Hall, the program administrator for special education.

The district is also trying to get more paraeducators into special education programs. The district is offering special consideration to those earning certifications as special education teachers.

“I started as a paraeducator in a resource classroom,” Hall said. “That’s really what caught my interest in becoming a teacher.”

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Canyons School District launch scholarship program to encourage teaching careers