A new collaboration between Wylie ISD and Texas Tech is expanding future learning opportunities for any district staff member, so long as they complete two semesters, or one year of employment.
The new partnership, called the Employee Educational Assistance Program, is one component of the district’s overall approach to retaining its staff, said Superintendent David Vinson. Spearheaded by Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Casey Whittle, the program will provide another avenue for professional development through further education and a more advanced degree.
“Casey has done a great job finding ways to retain people and new ways to attract people to our district,” Vinson said.
While teachers have access to professional development through staff days, this program expands the possibilities to graduating seniors from the district and other staff that may be looking to earn a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification.
Jesse Perez Mendez, dean of the Texas Tech College of Education, said the program is innovative while showing a commitment to the district’s staff.
“We are proud to partner with Wylie ISD on this innovative model for professional growth,” Mendez said. “Wylie ISD has shown incredible commitment to investing in its workforce and empowering educators and paraprofessionals to reach their full potential. The district is innovative in their focus on valuing – not just appreciating – their staff and faculty.”
Whittle said the program does not stop there with options to earn a master’s degree, graduate certificate or even a doctoral degree.
“There are people who for one reason or another may not have gotten an undergraduate degree but want to become a teacher,” Whittle said. “We’ll help them earn that degree.”
Those who participate in the program can participate in the prepaid tuition program, paying back any amount owed for a failed course, across a variety of degree paths in Texas Tech University’s College of Education. Participants are responsible for any books, fees or additional costs, and they must report their grades to the Wylie ISD Human Resources Department and commit to working for the district at least three years after graduation.
Programs will begin in the fall semester and will typically have an assigned timeframe in which employees will be expected to complete their degree plan. Individuals will also be required to meet admission requirements for the university.
Vinson said the district explored partnerships with several colleges and universities, but only Texas Tech informed them that such a partnership was feasible.
“We asked several universities if this was possible and Tech was the only one that came on board,” Vinson said. In its early stages, the program will be evaluated on an annual basis and will involve dialogue between Wylie ISD and the university, he added. Informational material distributed by the district reads, “Wylie ISD reserves the right to terminate the program’s entirety.”
For the full story, see the April 19 issue of The Wylie News.