Tennessee in the spotlight for program to recruit more teachers for free

Posted at 1:26 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 14:26:20-05

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee Department of Education said Tennessee is the first state in the country to have a permanent "Grow Your Own" model approved by the Department of Labor.

This program is now permanently in the Clarksville-Montgomery County School District. This approval deals with a teacher residency program with the district and Austin Peay State University, according to the department. It is the first registered apprenticeship program for teaching in the country.

"By establishing a permanent Grow Your Own model, Tennesseans are innovating to provide the opportunity to become teachers for free while earning a wage. We hope states across the country will utilize this model to combat teacher shortages, remove barriers to becoming an educator for people from all backgrounds and continue to invest in the teaching profession," Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said.

According to the district, the program is a pathway for people to teach who want a non-traditional way to a degree or certification.

"Teacher Residents are educational assistants who contribute to excellence by providing instructional and non-instructional support to students while learning best practices for a career in education from an outstanding CMCSS educator," the district said on their website.

The "Grow Your Own" programs are not new to Tennessee. There are 65 of them in the state. The first round of the partnerships began back in October of 2020.

"The Grow Your Own model is designed to foster partnerships between EPPs and districts to provide innovative, no-cost pathways to the teaching profession by increasing EPP enrollment and growing the supply of qualified teachers," the release said.