To combat a national teacher shortage, many states are starting to get creative. From “grow your own” teachers to allowing veterans to teach, the options for addressing teacher shortages are expanding, according to a report from District Administration.

At the same time, with an abundance of COVID-relief funds at their disposal, many districts are struggling to spend it all. If you need some help in that area, consider spending on diversifying your teacher workforce, an allowable use of relief funds.

According to a recent report from The Education Trust, a nonprofit that aims to provide equitable education for all students, schools can be doing more to use their federal grants to support teacher diversity.

Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Nevada, Iowa, Oklahoma, Massachusetts and South Carolina are among several states that serve as excellent examples of those who have made a conscious effort to invest in educator preparedness.

Here’s how they’re doing it:

• Georgia: The state has allocated $5 million to provide program fees, books and materials, exam fees and certification for new teachers. An additional $5 million was used to provide program fees, books and materials in high-need areas for teacher endorsements.
• Indiana: Federal grants were used to partner with 13 higher education institutions in supporting English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching certification.
• Ohio and Nevada: Both states used funds to help higher education institutions provide scholarships to those participating in teacher preparation programs.
• Iowa, Nevada and Oklahoma: These three states have allocated resources toward tuition assistance, exam fee waivers and student teaching stipends to those who are enrolled in teacher preparation programs.
• Massachusetts: $350,000 was used to pilot alternative assessments for teachers to obtain their license in order to add more pathways into the profession.
• South Carolina: The state used $600,000 to expand a Clemson University program called “Call me MISTER,” an initiative that serves to expand the pool of eligible teachers from diverse backgrounds.