Alumni Teachers May Qualify for Help with Student Loans

Education_HeaderTeachers working in designated teacher shortage areas in Minnesota may now qualify for help with their student loan payments. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) recently announced an assistance program for teachers with student loans.
The Minnesota Teacher Shortage Student Loan Repayment Program, created in 2015, is intended to encourage teachers to teach in Minnesota in designated shortage areas by providing assistance with their student loan repayments.
In general, applicants must currently:
  • Hold a teaching license issued by the licensing division in the Minnesota Department of Education on behalf of the Board of Teaching
  • Be employed by a school district to provide classroom instruction
  • Teach in a designated teacher shortage area; and
  • Have outstanding qualified educational loan debt.
Qualifying teachers who apply by June 30, 2016, may be eligible for repayment assistance of $1,000 per year, up to a total of $5,000. OHE estimates that 194 awards will be made for the 2015-2016 award year, with as many as 1,940 annual awards made through 2019.
The Teacher Shortage Student Loan Repayment Program application is online here.
Please share this information with interested friends or colleagues. For more information, contact Sandy Connolly at 651-259-3902 or by email at sandy.connolly@state.mn.us.

Teaching Must Be in the DNA

Jane Bracken and Jenna Held
Jane (Catlin) Bracken ’71 and Jenna (Bracken) Held ’05

Things have changed a lot since Jane (Catlin) Bracken ’71 began teaching first grade in Cannon Falls back in the early ‘70s. Handouts done on ditto machines (with that distinctive purple print), filmstrips, and simple newsletters have given way to iPads, Smart Boards, and classroom blogs. And though most of the tools have changed, the supreme satisfaction of teaching little kids how to read has remained constant for Bracken. For 41 years, she taught first grade (all in the Cannon Falls district), and in 2009, she was named Cannon Falls Teacher of the Year. She says it has been “so cool” to watch students grow up and have kids of their own, then meet with them as parents during conferences. One year not too long ago, one-third of her students were children of earlier students.

Bracken’s daughter, Jenna (Bracken) Held ’05, is now following in her mother’s footsteps, attracted to not only the joy that a teacher’s lifestyle can provide, but the opportunity to do something she loves—work with children. And last year, after having taught fourth and fifth grade for eight years, she copied her mother again and switched to first grade. Teaching at Lincoln Center in South St. Paul is especially sweet for her, as it allows her to work in the community where she lives, and to see her students around town. Continue reading “Teaching Must Be in the DNA”