Tennessee Announces Continued Statewide Grow Your Own Investments

Thursday, December 01, 2022 | 10:00am


Additional Funding Expands Opportunities for January 2023 Teacher Prep Programs

Nashville, TN—As part of the Grow Your Own celebration throughout the month of November, today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced continued investments for innovative educator preparation pathways through a component of Tennessee’s Grow Your Own initiative, the Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship.

The Tennessee Grow Your Own Center is expanding opportunities for approved apprenticeships, offering Education Preparation Providers (EPPs) the opportunity to apply for subgrants to bring more individuals into the educator profession. These subgrants will ensure, as EPPs receive TDOE-approval to offer new apprenticeship programs for districts and educators, they have the means to deliver high-quality instruction and flexible offerings – regardless of location, district partnership, and program size.

These subgrants demonstrate the state’s commitment to continue to invest in high-quality, no-cost opportunities for Tennesseans to earn a degree and teacher’s license for free, while getting paid to do so. While programs are still finalizing applicants' paperwork before the December deadline, the department and Grow Your Own Center are projecting between 200-250 candidates to begin Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship programs for January 2023.

“Tennessee educators work hard to advance students’ academic outcomes and ensure future readiness, inspiring for growth and achievement every day,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Building off the proven success of our earlier Grow Your Own Teacher Apprenticeship models, Tennessee is pointing the way to more effectively staff our nation's schools. We look forward to sustainable expansion through Tennessee’s strategic efforts to address teacher shortages with high-quality programs.”

The Tennessee Grow Your Own Center was established in May 2022 with $20 million in funding from the department, to create sustainable statewide support for teacher apprenticeship programs in Tennessee. The Grow Your Own Center is a service of the University of Tennessee System, but the center provides connections between learners and coursework providers from a multitude of Tennessee colleges and universities.

“Lincoln Memorial University is grateful for the opportunity to support such innovative teacher apprenticeship opportunities for future Tennessee educators,” said Dr. John McCook, Chair of the Carter & Moyer School of Education Department of Graduate Education, Lincoln Memorial University. “We’ve had tremendous success with our initial Grow Your Own programs, and our new apprenticeship pathway is truly a program full of promise. We’re proud to serve educators in their journey to support Tennessee students.” 

“Lipscomb University is deeply appreciative for the state’s commitment to the educator pipeline,” said Vanessa Garcia, Senior Program Director of Grow Your Own and Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Lipscomb University. “Our programs offer tremendous training and experiences for our teachers across multiple Tennessee districts, and the opportunity for additional funding will bring us closer to true sustainability and scale.”

Tennessee was the first state in the country to sponsor teacher occupation apprenticeship programs between school districts and Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs), and Tennessee’s Teacher Apprenticeship models aligns leading practices in teacher preparation and development with the rigors of the nationally registered apprenticeship process. As a part of the department’s Best for All strategic plan, the Grow Your Own initiative aims to set a new path for the educator profession and for Tennessee to be the top state in which to become and remain a teacher and leader.

Tennessee announced the latest developed innovative models that vary in time, modality, and approach - each meeting the registered teacher occupation apprenticeship structure. New programs will begin in January 2023 with additional cohorts to follow in Summer and Fall. Learn more about the new Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship Models here

Additionally, free resources for state and district leaders, education stakeholders and community members looking to learn more about teacher occupation apprenticeships can be found at our website here.

For programmatic inquiries, contact GrowYourOwn@tn.gov. For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov