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Murphy administration announces $2M grant designed to improve teacher retention, reduce administrative burdens

NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) Friday announced a $2 million grant program designed to address teacher climate and culture with the specific focus of exploring strategies for reclaiming teacher time.

“Building a positive climate and culture in the workplace is a critical factor that affects the ability of school systems to attract and retain highly qualified teachers,” said Kevin Dehmer, Acting Commissioner of Education. “Reporting requirements can potentially distract from classroom instruction so this program allows for an honest look at how administrative functions can be streamlined, reduced, or eliminated to continue the ongoing support of teachers.”

The Teacher Climate and Culture Innovation Grant Program was established as a key recommendation of Governor Murphy’s Task Force on Public School Staff Shortages in New Jersey, created in November 2022. One of the primary recommendations of the 25-member task force called for implementing policies and procedures that reduce administrative paperwork and other tasks that pull teachers away from classroom instruction.

“We are very pleased that the NJDOE is implementing a recommendation of the Governor’s Task Force on Public School Staff Shortage by making this significant investment in Culture and Climate Innovation Grants,” said NJEA President Sean M. Spiller, who served on that Taskforce. “The last few years have been challenging for everyone, and educators are no exception. Educator burnout is exacerbating the educator shortage and hurting our students. If district leaders work in collaboration with the staff who are most affected, these grants will allow districts to explore innovative ways to reverse that trend and keep talented educators in our classrooms where they can do the most good.”

School districts that receive grant funding will develop policies, programming, guidance or other structures designed to reclaim teacher time by reducing administrative paperwork and other tasks that pull teachers away from classroom instruction.

It is expected that the best practice strategies which result from this grant program will be implemented in school districts throughout the state. The NJDOE grant application is not prescribing specific activities to meet these goals in order to encourage innovative approaches to empower educators and reduce bureaucracy.

Grant awards will range from $75,000 to $200,000, based on the number of teachers in the district.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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