February 13, 2024

UCR School of Education secures $1 million grant

It will further UCR efforts to address teacher shortage & diversify the teacher workforce

Author: David Danelski
February 13, 2024

The UC Riverside School of Education will receive a $1 million grant from an Inland Empire collaborative group to further its efforts to address the California teacher shortage and diversify the teacher workforce.

The grant from the Inland Empire Regional K-16 Education Collaborative will fund a program that addresses low educational attainment levels among the region’s populations of color and a disproportionate lack of Black and Hispanic teachers in the region’s K-12 schools.

“As our population has diversified over the past few decades, it is critical that our workforce diversifies along with it,” said Raquel M. Rall, associate professor and associate dean of strategic initiatives in the UCR School of Education.

Raquel Rall, Frances Valdovinos and Austin Johnson
Raquel Rall, Frances Valdovinos and Austin Johnson

“This is true, especially in the classroom, where diverse experiences, backgrounds, perspectives, and ways of knowing enhance the learning environment, especially for Students of Color who are typically taught by teachers who do not look like them,” said Rall, who is principal investigator on this grant. Frances Valdovinos, assistant dean and director of the UCR teacher education program, and Austin Johnson, associate dean of undergraduate education, are co-principal investigators.

With this funding, the School of Education will work with Coachella Valley Unified School District, College of the Desert, Riverside Unified School District, and Riverside City College to attract, support, and provide a clear path for high school students who want to become teachers in the communities where they grew up and have strong connections. 

Kelly Kraus-Lee
Kelly Kraus Lee

“This collaboration between districts, community colleges, and the UCR School of Education will lead to a more diverse teacher workforce in Riverside County,” said Kelly Kraus-Lee, the School of Education's senior director of development, who oversaw the grant submission process.

“We are grateful for the funding and look forward to advancing more equitable practices in education throughout the region,” Kraus-Lee said.

The Inland Empire Regional K-16 Education Collaborative is part of the California Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program that was made possible by a $250 million state appropriation in the Budget Act of 2021. UCR was one of nine educational institutions in the Inland Empire to receive grants from the collaborative.

The grant to UCR comes on the heels of the establishment of the UCR teacher education program at its branch campus in Palm Desert in collaboration with Coachella Valley Unified School District. The program is recruiting student teachers in the Coachella Valley region and expects to place them after graduation in much needed teaching positions.


Header photo by Getty Images

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