New Partnership Allows Chicago School Districts to Build Teacher Skills For COVID Recovery

The University of Saint Francis and BloomBoard Announce New Partnership to Address Pandemic Recovery while Offering Teachers Graduate-level Credit via Micro-Credentials

Micro-credential-based graduate courses from the University of St. Francis and BloomBoard allow local schools to leverage federal relief funds to build teacher skills for COVID recovery

Today, the University of St. Francis and BloomBoard announced a partnership to help Illinois schools and districts support teachers this fall following significant disruptions to learning over the past two years. Illinois teachers will be able to get a headstart on their graduate degrees from the university while honing their skills in critical areas such as student well-being and academic recovery. These courses also qualify for federal stimulus funding, enabling school districts to pay for the training, as they seek to leverage remaining resources before expiration.

This partnership allows teachers to develop skills through an on-the-job, learning-and-proving-by-doing process that is directly relevant to their classroom practice. Micro-credential-based programs are a flexible alternative to earning traditional graduate course credit towards a master’s degree. They provide an innovative approach to professional learning while promoting educators’ professional and compensation advancement opportunities.

“Micro-credentials are an attractive option for teachers who want to develop evidence-based practices that are directly related to student learning, and build the practical skills that are needed in Illinois schools right now,” said Dr. John Gambro, Dean of the College of Education at the University of St. Francis. “This partnership with BloomBoard is a big step forward in our continual effort to meet the needs of educators in innovative ways. It’s truly a win-win for advancing K-12 education.”

The University of St. Francis and BloomBoard offer the following micro-credential-based programs:

              • Student Learning Recovery
              • Student Well-being
              • Equity in the Classroom
              • Effective Blended Learning

“Our teachers need tools to help our students face a challenging year ahead, but our teachers are exhausted,” said Dr. Mark Klaisner, Executive Director of West40 and President of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools. “This opportunity through the University of St. Francis and Bloomboard is exactly what Cook County schools need to address learning recovery and support our educators in learning by doing without creating unnecessary work.”

School districts can use federal ESSER funds to pay for this program. For schools applying for the federal stimulus funds, they must spend at least 20% of the funds to address learning loss through evidence-based interventions that respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs. BloomBoard offers support for districts to navigate the funding application process.

BloomBoard welcomes enrollment as Illinois school districts prepare for the 2021-22 school year. Additional program and enrollment information is available here.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

Current issue of Equity & Access:

Equity & Access - Issue 28

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