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Grow Your Own Teacher Pipeline!

What is Grow Your Own (GYO)?

Grow Your Own (GYO) programs develop and train future educators from within a school district’s very own classrooms by offering alternative pathways to teacher certification. The exact objective of GYO may vary per state, but these three goals remain consistent: combatting the teacher shortage, expanding the tightening pipeline of new teachers, and diversifying the pool of teacher candidates!

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Grow Your Own teacher programs “recruit and train teachers from within communities and can bring racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity and skills (such as bilingualism) to the educator workforce.” 1 As the teacher shortage continues, this approach may help fill staffing gaps and increase retention rates.

Who partners with GYO?

Grow Your Own - School Districts

School Districts

Grow Your Own - Prep Programs

Teacher Prep Programs

Grow Your Own - Community Organizations

Community Organizations

Grow Your Own - Universities


Who can participate in GYO?

These programs usually aim to develop teachers from the high school students within their schools. Some common pathways for these students include Career & Technical Education (CTE) or Dual Enrollment.

However, some GYO programs offer alternative pathways for:

Grow Your Own - Alternate Pathways

What does GYO look like across state lines?

Grow Your Own - Across States

What are the benefits of GYO?

Grow Your Own - Increase Diversity

Increase Diversity

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 50% of public-school students identify as persons of color, yet only 20% of teachers do. But there’s good news! GYO programs can help increase the diversity of teachers!

RAND studied six GYO programs across the U.S. in low-income districts. 52% of program participants were people of color, and 74 teachers of color (in total) became educators throughout those six districts. 6

When students of color have at least one teacher who shares their racial/cultural background, they perform better on standardized tests, are more likely to graduate high school, and are more likely to attend a four-year college. 7

“With [Grow Your Own], even the first year when we kicked this program off, our diversity hiring went through the roof in terms of results.”
Jason Olson, Director of Human Resources, Verona Area School District

Grow Your Own - Fill Classroom Gaps

Fill Classroom Gaps

The Frontline Research & Learning institute found that Business, Foreign Language, and Special Education are the hardest subjects to fill for open positions. GYO programs can help combat these low hire rates by offering specified training to those areas.

Grow Your Own - Remove Barriers

Remove barriers to entry

With various roadblocks to earning a teacher certification, including the cost of coursework and the certification itself, some people may not be able to pursue a teaching career.

Teachers who go through GYO programs have higher retention rates, and without GYO, often wouldn’t have chosen to teach at all. 8

Grow Your Own - Increase Retention

Increase retention

Research suggests that educators who become certified through GYO programs have higher retention rates. 9

Students are 400% “more likely to stay with their aspirations from high school to enter the teaching field” with a GYO program.” 10

81% of students in Educator Rising’s GYO program remained in teaching for at least 3 years after the program. 11

Grow Your Own - Build A Year-round Teacher Pipeline

Build a year-round teacher pipeline

The K-12 hiring landscape has evolved. Instead of a defined hiring season, trends are now showing the shift toward year-round recruiting. With a GYO program, your district can self-sustain your teacher pipeline year round and help to support other recruiting efforts.

The elements of a successful GYO program

According to New America, there are five elements of a high-quality GYO program:

Grow Your Own - Elements of a Successful GYO Program

How to Grow Your Own!

How to:

The Regional Educational Laboratory Program 11 suggests the following steps for growing your own:

1. Design

Establish partnerships and recruit students

2. Implement

Provide academic, financial, and social support

3. Evaluate

Evaluate program features, implementation, impact, and success

Educators Rising 10 is an organization that works toward diversifying future educators (51% of their students are students of color) and growing teacher prep programs. Check out their website as a starting point or resource for growing your own, or if you’re interested in starting a chapter in your district!