Grow Your Own grants will be used to encourage high school students to consider teaching as a career, as well as paraprofessionals and teacher aides to pursue certification. The grant will also assist recipients in providing support to student teachers during their year-long clinical teaching or intensive pre-service experience prior to their first year of teaching full time.
“Research shows that 60 percent of educators in the United States teach within 20 miles of where they went to high school,” said Commissioner Morath. “Because we know our future teachers are currently in our high schools, the goal of Grow Your Own is to help increase the quality and diversity of our teaching force and to better support our paraprofessionals, teacher’s aides and educators, especially in small and rural school districts.”
The 36 applicants selected to receive a Grow Your Own grant include: Bob Hope School (Port Arthur), Bridge City ISD, Brooks County ISD, Castleberry ISD, Del Valle ISD, Elgin ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Fort Hancock ISD, Grand Prairie ISD, Hillsboro ISD, La Vega ISD, Lancaster ISD, Laredo ISD, Longview ISD, Marble Falls ISD, Mineola ISD, Muleshoe ISD, New Caney ISD, Palestine ISD, Presidio ISD, Region 20 Education Service Center, Relay Graduate School of Education, Rosebud-Lott ISD, Sabinal ISD, Somerset ISD, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University – Commerce, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, Texas Tech University, Texas Woman's University, Vidor ISD, Waxahachie Faith Family Academy, West Texas A&M University, Westwood ISD and Woodville ISD.
This initiative comes as a direct recommendation from Commissioner Morath’s Texas Rural Schools Task Force, whose members identified this priority issue and presented a strong recommendation to address it. Created in 2016, the Texas Rural Schools Task Force was charged with identifying current challenges and best practices for the state’s rural school districts. Information on the task force (including its final report) can be viewed here: https://tea.texas.gov/Texas_Educators/Educator_Initiatives_and_Performance/Rural_Schools_Task_Force/.
Based on information shared in the applications of grant recipients, 2019-2021 Grow Your Own grants will fund:
- 51 current teachers to receive stipends to lead Education and Training courses, including for dual credit, beginning in the 2019-2020 school year;
- 123 paraprofessionals to receive a bachelor’s and teacher certification and project them to be full-time teachers starting the 2021-2022 school year;
- 51 paraprofessionals to receive a teacher certification and project them to be full-time teachers starting the 2020-2021 school year;
- 15 teacher candidates to participate in an intensive pre-service experience and project them to be full-time teachers starting in the 2019-2020 school year;
- 94 teacher candidates to participate in a year-long clinical teaching placement and project them to be full-time teachers starting the 2020-2021 school year; and
- 52 high schools to start or grow Education and Training programs.
The Grow Your Own initiative supports TEA’s Strategic Priority to recruit, support, and retain teachers and principals. To learn more about the agency’s strategic priorities, visit https://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Welcome_and_Overview/TEA_Strategic_Plan/.
An opportunity to apply for the 2020-2022 Grow Your Own Grant Program, Cycle 3 is planned for the fall of 2019. Grant application information will be posted to TEA’s Grant Opportunities page on the TEA website.
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