AUSTIN – Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced today that 25 school districts, universities and education service centers have been awarded a Texas Education Agency (TEA) 2018-2019 Grow Your Own grant.
Grow Your Own grants will be used to encourage high school students to consider teaching as a career, as well as paraprofessionals and/or teacher aides to pursue certification. The grant will also assist grant recipients in providing support to student teachers during their year-long clinical teaching.
The 25 applicants selected to receive a Grow Your Own grant include: Amarillo ISD; Angleton ISD; Burkeville ISD; Chapel Hill ISD (Smith County); Cumby ISD; Everman ISD; Fort Stockton ISD; Grand Prairie ISD; Lamar CISD; Lometa ISD; Midland ISD; Moody ISD; O'Donnell ISD; Pearsall ISD; Region 2 Education Service Center (Corpus Christi); Region 5 Education Service Center (Beaumont); Region 6 Education Service Center (Huntsville); Snook ISD; Socorro ISD; Springtown ISD; Stafford MSD; Stephen F. Austin State University; Texas Tech University; Texas Woman's University; and Timpson ISD.
“The goal of Grow Your Own is to help increase the quality and diversity of our teaching force, especially in small and rural school districts,” said Commissioner Morath. “This initiative comes as a direct result of recent work from our Texas Rural Schools Task Force, whose members identified this priority issue and presented a strong recommendation to address it.”
Created by Commissioner Morath 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/.
Commissioner Morath noted that the 2018-2019 Grow Your Own grant program was among the first from the agency to pilot a new streamlined application process, which represented an 80 percent reduction in paperwork for applicants. This streamlined approach was in direct response to Rural Schools Task Force recommendations. In addition, priority points were awarded to school districts with smaller enrollments, also in response to the Task Force’s recommendations.
Based on information shared in the applications of grant recipients, Grow Your Own grants will fund:
- 49 current teachers to receive a Masters in Education in order to teach the Education and Training courses for dual credit starting the 2020-2021 school-year;
- 136 paraprofessionals to receive a bachelor’s and teacher certification and project them to be full-time teachers starting the 2020-2021 school-year;
- 59 paraprofessionals to receive a teacher certification and project them to be full-time teachers starting the 2019-2020 school-year;
- 24 teacher candidates to participate in a year-long clinical teaching placement and project them to be full-time teachers starting the 2019-2020 school-year; and
- 59 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 2019-2020 Grow Your Own grant program will come later this year. Grant application information will be posted to TEA’s Grant Opportunities page on the TEA website in the fall.
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