By LESLIE HUENKE
The Fort Zumwalt School District has experienced prominent growth since the 1990s, and with this growth comes the need of additional teachers. The “shortage areas” identified by the state of Missouri continue to worsen for several certification categories. Fort Zumwalt’s Grow Your Own Teachers Program raises awareness and assistance among students wanting to pursue a career in teaching. Through development and leadership opportunities for these students, Fort Zumwalt School District has been able to increase the number of quality teaching candidates for hard to fill areas in the district. The Fort Zumwalt Education Foundation gives a $7,000 per year loan to eight future district teachers. The loan applies for four years of college. Once the student completes their fourth year of teaching in a high-need area within the district, the no-interest loan is forgiven.
The students who were chosen for the award this year include Fort Zumwalt South High senior Kylie Avery and Fort Zumwalt West High senior Sara Norris. Avery and Norris will receive the loan as they work toward their degrees in education. Avery will return to the district to teach high school math, and Norris will return to the district to teach special education. Avery and Norris join eight other recipients currently enrolled in college. So far, Fort Zumwalt has 12 alumni who have completed the program and are teaching in Fort Zumwalt District schools.