After teacher Jyl Mason had her son Levi, she almost left the classroom.
Mason loved her job teaching high school social studies in Pekin, Ill., but she also wanted to stay home with her baby. She felt that she would have to resign.
But when she announced her plans to district leadership, they suggested a potential solution: Mason could enroll Levi in the school’s onsite daycare program.
For years, Pekin schools had run a child-care center for community members, as part of the district’s career and technical education offerings. This year, the district changed the program to serve teachers instead. Staff can enroll their children, ages 6 months to 5 years, for $100 a week.
Now, Mason works part-time at the high school and picks her son up from the onsite daycare at the end of each morning. “The bottom line is that if the childcare center wasn’t open here at school, I mean, I would not have been able to continue teaching,” she said.
As districts across the country have struggled to attract and retain qualified teachers, some school systems are coming up with unusual perks for their employees.
Pekin is just one school system that is trying something new. This video is the first in an Education Week series featuring four districts that are thinking outside the box when it comes to building a supportive workplace environment.
From onsite medical and child care to tiny homes and paid sabbaticals, these districts are hoping that new benefits will draw more teachers to the classroom—and keep them there. Check back here in the coming weeks for more video profiles.
Correction: A previous version of this post mischaracterized who the Pekin child-care program serves. Starting this year, it serves only teachers.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.