PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria Public Schools board on Monday approved an agreement with the Spirit Cultural Exchange for participation in the International Teacher Exchange program.
The organization is designated by the United States Department of State as a J-1 Visa Program sponsor. The program facilitates the exchange of ideas and culture between the U.S. and other countries in various fields and disciplines.
There is currently a severe national teacher shortage, an issue that’s impacted Peoria’s school district. PPS Superintendent, Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat proposed this idea to fill vacancies in the district.
The exchange program will allow experienced educators to teach in the U.S. for an initial 3-year duration with an option to renew for an additional two years. Teachers can teach within their specialty subject areas, share their culture with students and learn new skills that will help them with future careers.
“Internationally there are quite a bit of teachers especially the Philippines, we hear from them all the time and they’re interested in coming to work for us,” Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat said.
There is no cost to the district for the partnership with Spirit Cultural Exchange, but teachers who are placed in the district will be paid salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Peoria Federation of Teachers.