Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - The Lafayette Parish School System (LPSS) and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) have announced a first-of-its kind initiative aimed to support aspiring educators during yearlong residencies in LPSS classrooms. Beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year, resident teachers attending UL Lafayette will be eligible for a monthly stipend of $1,000 to complete their ten month residency program.


Lafayette Parish School Superintendent Francis Touchet, Jr.:

We are pleased to once again partner with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to address major issues impacting our classrooms. This stipend program not only addresses the financial challenges faced by our education majors but also solidifies our commitment to nurturing a talented pool of educators for students attending school in our district.

LPSS Superintendent Francis Touchet
Courtesy LPSS

This innovative stipend program is designed to alleviate financial burdens faced by education majors during the residency portion of earning an education degree.

The shortage of teachers across the state prompted the idea, which leads to filling gaps in qualified personnel. Nearly 600 teachers are needed right now locally, and that number is expected to increase by about 40 per year.

To be eligible for the stipend, teacher residents must commit to a two-year employment term after graduation as a classroom teacher with LPSS.

UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie applauds the initiative:

We commend the Lafayette Parish School System for being proactive in attracting future teachers. This partnership between the University and LPSS will help put more qualified teachers in classrooms, and we are grateful to the school board and the LPSS administration for the opportunities this collaboration provides.

UL President Dr. Joe Savoie
Courtesy UL Lafayette

A key objective of this stipend initiative is to establish a robust pipeline of certified classroom teachers within LPSS. Despite the existing $3,300 stipend provided by the Louisiana Department of Education for yearlong residencies, students often struggle to support themselves financially outside of school day hours. By providing financial support during the crucial residency period, LPSS and UL Lafayette aim to attract and retain highly qualified educators, enhancing the educational experience for aspiring teachers and ensuring a seamless transition from student to professional classroom teacher roles.

There is an urgent need for certified classroom teachers both in Louisiana and across the country, which is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade.

In addition to the stipend initiative, LPSS and UL Lafayette are addressing the teacher shortage through the Educators Rising program. This program, launched two years ago, allows middle school and high school students to explore the field of education and receive mentorship from experienced educators. At the high school level, activities such as visits to UL Lafayette, future teacher signing days, and participation in the Educators Rising State Conference are offered. High school students enrolled in pre-educator pathway courses may become eligible for college credit upon meeting specified requirements. Upon graduation, students attending UL Lafayette are invited to join Educators Rising Collegiate, which has grown from 3 to 90 members in about 3 years.

LPSS Diversity and Equity Talent Coordinator Nicky Walker stated:

By working together with preparation providers and transforming the way in which we build and diversify our pipeline of educators, we have already begun to see quite a few middle and high school students look at this profession as an attractive possibility, and we are hoping to increase the teacher pool by providing financial support to senior college education majors during their year-long residencies. We will not grow lazy on this effort because addressing this kind of shortage will take many years to overcome, and it would be an injustice to our kids if we did not do everything in our power to put effective teachers in front of them.

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