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Western Governors University and Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools Announce Partnership

Thursday, September 17, 2020 - Posted 2:12:15 PM

New partnership will provide IARSS and Illinois public school district employees the opportunity to further their skills through WGU's online programs; WGU will also offer scholarships

In an effort to increase access to high-quality higher education for working adults in Illinois, while also assisting in teacher retention and staff development, Western Governors University (WGU) and the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS) today announced they have entered into a partnership. IARSS serves 852 school districts throughout Illinois and represents more than 200,000 organization and public school districts' employees. Under the terms of the new agreement, certified and non-certified employees and district staff members who enroll in one of the fully online, nonprofit university's 60-plus undergraduate or graduate degree programs will be eligible for scholarships offered through WGU's Education Partner Fund.

The scholarships are valued at up to $2,500, and are applied at a rate of $625 per six-month term, renewable for up to four terms. Through the partnership, WGU, which is regularly ranked as having one of the best Teachers College programs in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality, will support IARSS in promoting and providing educational opportunities for teachers and other staff members.

"IARSS and WGU are both committed to K-12 student success by preparing teachers for the classroom and equipping them with the skills they need to inspire and engage students," said Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Regional Vice President of Western Governors University. "This partnership will further support that mission, while also working to increase teacher retention rates. Our flexible, self-paced model will provide an avenue for teachers and other employees to further their education while working full-time and juggling their busy schedules."

IARSS represents 35 Regional Offices of Education and three Intermediate Services Centers in six geographic regions throughout Illinois, serving 1.5 million children. The six areas work together to ensure all school districts receive the same services and all children are educated in a safe, supportive and successful environment.

WGU prepares teachers for licensure in all 50 states, and 98% of WGU students pass their Teacher Performance Assessment (as required by their state) within 90 days of completion of their demonstration, or student teaching. WGU's Teachers College, which has graduated nearly 26,000 students to date, is one of the largest producers of STEM teachers in the country, conferring 11 percent of the nation's bachelor's and master's degrees in STEM teaching.

For more information about the partnership between IARSS and WGU, visit