Grants from Department of Education provide pathway to addressing teacher shortage

The Tennessee Department of Education announced $2 million for round two of competitive Grow Your Own grants to help remove barriers and increase access to the education field for prospective teachers in Tennessee.

The application deadline is May 7 for Educator Preparation Programs who wish to participate.

The Grow Your Own initiative supports partnerships between EPPs and Local Education Agencies to provide innovative, no-cost pathways to the teaching profession by increasing EPP enrollment and growing the supply of qualified teachers to serve the state’s diverse student population.

The Grow Your Own initiative provides no-cost access to a pathway to teaching in order to meet the need for increased diversity as well as to address the state’s teacher shortage. Like the first round, the second round will provide 20 EPPs $100,000 each in funding for the program.

From the first round of grants, the department was able to establish additional Grow Your Own partnerships with seven EPPs and 37 districts, creating innovative examples of how to utilize these partnerships in local communities.

Lincoln Memorial University’s various partnerships allow education assistants with a bachelor’s degree to receive a Master of Education degree while receiving initial Tennessee licensure in visual arts, physical education, elementary education, or secondary education, as well as a teaching endorsement in Special Education.

Austin Peay State University’s and Lipscomb University’s partnership with Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools maximizes the number of education assistants and high school seniors who enroll in their Grow Your Own programs.

The application process for the second round of Grow Your Own grants is open to both in-state and out-of-state EPPs who partner with a Tennessee school district. Among the requirements for being awarded funding, preference will be given to EPPs and school districts not awarded funding in round one.

Funding for the Grow Your Own competitive grant is available through federal COVID-19 stimulus funding.