New grant program offered to teachers to add endorsements to their educator licenses

The Tennessee Department of Education announced a new grant opportunity that will provide up to 2,400 licensed Tennessee educators the ability to add a new Special Education and English as a Second Language additional endorsement to their educator license. This grant opportunity will also be offered during the 2022-23 school year, allowing another cohort of 2,400 educators to earn an additional endorsement in either SPED or ESL at low or no cost, building off additional efforts to provide these opportunities to over 5,000 educators.

Since August 5, 2021, the department has collected participant nominations from districts, with each LEA being guaranteed at least three participant seats in each additional endorsement pathway being offered. Remaining seats will now be filled on a first-come, first-served basis by Tennessee educators who self-register for the additional endorsement pathway of their choice.

The primary purpose of this grant is to address educator vacancies across Tennessee by providing a pathway for current educators to add endorsements at no out-of-pocket cost. This grant also provides current Tennessee educators additional opportunities to develop new knowledge and skills to help them grow in their practice and to better support all students, whether in their current role or in a new role.

In order to register for participation in one of these additional endorsement opportunities, currently licensed Tennessee educators should complete one of the relevant forms by today.

Those individuals who have already been nominated by their district for this opportunity, or for another additional endorsement opportunity being offered by the department, will not be eligible for self-registration at this time. For the SPED additional endorsement opportunities being offered, either districts or participants will be responsible for covering the cost of 1 required licensure assessment prior to earning their endorsement.

This is the sixth grant program made available by the department in recent months to support LEAs in serving students with disabilities, the fourth grant made available by the department that allows current Tennessee educators to earn an additional endorsement at low or no-cost, and the second grant made available by the department that allows educators to gain an additional endorsement in ESL for free.

This latest grant announcement builds upon the work the department has done to offer 450+ educators the opportunity to add an additional endorsement in SPED, ESL, or Secondary Math at no cost during the 2021-22 school year.

In total, the department has now offered more than 5,000 Tennessee educators the opportunity to earn an additional endorsement in SPED, ESL, or Secondary Math over the next 2 years while completing coursework through an approved Educator Preparation Provider.