TDOE Announces $2 Million Grow Your Own Grant for Innovative, No-Cost Pathways to Teaching Profession

Monday, August 03, 2020 | 03:58pm

Monday, August 3, 2020 

MEDIA CONTACT: Victoria Robinson 



TDOE Announces $2 Million Grow Your Own Grant for Innovative, No-Cost Pathways to Teaching Profession

Grant will Expand ‘Grow Your Own’ Partnerships to Strengthen Teacher Pipeline in Tennessee

Nashville, TN—The Tennessee Department of Education today announced the Grow Your Own Competitive Grant, which makes available twenty grants of $100,000 each to form or expand  state-recognized Grow Your Own Partnerships to increase access and remove barriers to the teaching profession. 
The Grow Your Own Competitive Grant will fund partnerships between Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to provide innovative, no-cost pathways to the teaching profession by increasing EPP enrollment and growing the supply of qualified teachers.

The department will be accepting grant applications through Wednesday, September 2, 2020. To view the competitive grant and learn more about requirements for both EPPs and LEAs, click here
"Since the department launched the first Grow Your Own initiative, we have been thrilled to see education prep programs and school districts come together in innovative ways to help more aspiring teachers enter the profession,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Today, we are so excited to announce this $2 million grant opportunity to greatly expand those efforts and increase the number of qualified teacher candidates all across the state so that more students may have highly effective teachers in their classrooms.”

The department’s Grow Your Own initiative seeks to increase access to and success in the teaching profession as part of the Best for All strategic plan, which sets a vision for Tennessee to be the top state to become and remain a teacher and leader. Today’s announcement builds upon current Grow Your Own partnerships at three higher education institutions—University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Austin Peay State University and Lipscomb University. 

This $2 million grant opportunity will remove barriers to the teaching profession by providing funds to entirely cover tuition, textbooks, and fees for all selected participants. In addition, GYO partnerships will increase the number of qualified teachers with high-demand licensures by providing participants with a no-cost education resulting in dual licensure OR initial licensure with additional endorsement to include grade or subject certification and special education or English Language Learners (ELL) certification.

“We appreciate the state’s continued investment in teacher pipelines through high-quality educator preparation programs,” said David Cihak, Ph.D., Associate Dean & Director of the University of Tennessee Bailey Graduate School of Education. “This grant will help remove barriers to the teaching profession and inspire the next generation of Tennessee’s teachers. The University of Tennessee is proud to be an early partner in this work.”

As part of the program, selected EPPs will work with the partnering LEA to ensure participants gain high-quality in-classroom experiences. EPPs must place participants in a paid education assistant (also known as paraprofessional) position, assign them to a teacher mentor and provide for participants to serve in a paid multi-year residency for bachelor’s degree programs or a one-year residency for advanced level programs. 

"We are excited about what this grant will mean for our district and many others across the state who are working overtime to recruit great teachers,” said Bob Thomas, Director of Knox County Schools. “This investment will help bolster the local pipeline of teacher candidates, one of our most urgent needs at the local level. Thank you to the state for making this a priority.”

Funding for the Grow Your Own Competitive Grant is available through Tennessee’s state reservation from Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocations.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact