NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Local universities and nonprofits were awarded nearly $13 million from a federal grant to help fill their void for teachers.
"We announce of a special initiative that will have a significant lasting impact for K through12 education in the city of New Orleans, and I would say in the region," President of Xavier University Dr. Reynold Verret said.
The Department of Education awarded the grant to Xavier and Loyola Universities as well as four education nonprofits. The money will go towards recruiting and training nearly 900 teachers by 2020.
"This is a critical time for us all to come together on a collaborative effort to bring more great teachers and highly effective teachers into our classrooms," said CEO of New Schools for New Orleans Patrick Dobard.
Dobard said the city is facing two key challenges when it comes to quality education.
"First, estimates show that we need to hire between 700 and 800 teachers every year. A great teacher can make a world of difference, and right now our schools are struggling to find and keep great teachers," Dobard said.
He adds that shortage is reflected in low test scores.
"Too many of our children are still not receiving the quality education that we've come to expect in New Orleans, and so we have a lot of work to do," Dobard said.
The different organizations stressed the importance of working together to achieve a common goal.
"We have to put aside our philosophical differences and come together under one goal, and that is to provide the best qualified teacher for every student in New Orleans public schools," Chair and Associate Professor at Xavier University Dr. Renee Akbar said.
Xavier University and Teach for America will receive the largest portions of the grant, which is about three million dollars each over three years of the grant.
The organizations said that while this will not completely fill their shortage of teachers, it's a start.