Grow Your Own grant will help increase the quality and diversity of our teaching force

Since becoming Commissioner, I have worked with staff at the Texas Education Agency to establish four strategic priorities to guide and focus our work on behalf of the more than five million school children in our State. One of those priorities is doing all we can to recruit, support and retain teachers and principals.

Key to that goal is ensuring there will be new teachers ready to step into the classroom in the years ahead. This is especially true for school districts located in our state’s rural areas.

As part of our commitment, I recently announced that 25 school districts, universities and education service centers have been awarded a TEA 2018-2019 Grow Your Own grant. 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.

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.

It’s important to note that this initiative comes as a direct result of the recent work from our 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.

In addition, this grant program was among the first by the agency to pilot a new streamlined application process, which represented an 80 percent reduction in paperwork for applicants. This streamlined approach was also in direct response to Rural Schools Task Force recommendations.

I look forward to seeing the results of this grant program in the coming years. Working with our school districts, universities and education service centers, we can help ensure effective teachers will be ready and available for future generations of young Texans.

Commissioner Mike Morath 
April 30, 2018  

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To see the complete list of 25 Grow Your Own grant recipients, visit

Information on the Texas Rural Schools Task Force (including its final report) can be viewed here:

To learn more about TEA’s strategic priorities, visit