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!
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?
Teacher Prep Programs
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:
What does GYO look like across state lines?
What are the benefits of GYO?
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
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.
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
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
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:
How to Grow Your Own!
The Regional Educational Laboratory Program 11 suggests the following steps for growing your own:
Establish partnerships and recruit students
Provide academic, financial, and social support
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!
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