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Tennessee Department of Education Launches “Grow Your Own” Initiative

 

Tennessee Department of EducationNashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Education, in an effort to support districts in recruiting and better preparing future teachers, has approved its first “Grow Your Own” partnership.

Commissioner Penny Schwinn is committed to identifying best practices in Tennessee’s districts and creating the conditions for them to flourish and expand.

Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) in partnership with Austin Peay State University (APSU) has 40 future teachers who will earn a free bachelor’s degree in only three years.

Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) in partnership with Austin Peay State University (APSU) has 40 future teachers who will earn a free bachelor’s degree in only three years.

“If you want to be an educator, you should be in Tennessee where we now have districts where you can get paid to become a teacher, graduate debt free and be better prepared by spending multiple years in a residency under the mentorship of a great classroom leader,” stated Schwinn.

“I look forward to replicating this innovative “Grow Your Own” model across the state,” Schwinn stated.

Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS), in partnership with Austin Peay State University (APSU), has a cohort of 40 future teachers, who will earn a free bachelor’s degree in only three years, become dual certified in a critical shortage area plus special education, and participate in a multi-year residency experience while being a full-time employed paraprofessional, earning a salary, health insurance and retirement contributions.

In addition, CMCSS plans to partner with Lipscomb University to offer up to 20 future teachers a licensure program that includes a one-year full-time paid residency and dual certification (K-5 and special education) at no cost to the teacher. Through this initiative, these future teachers will also earn a master’s degree in this partnership between Lipscomb and CMCSS.

“Tennessee’s Department of Education, under Commissioner Schwinn, is creating the conditions necessary for our district to thrive,” said Millard L. House II, CMCSS Director of Schools. “We are grateful for our partnerships with Austin Peay State University and Lipscomb University to create future Clarksville-Montgomery County teachers from our very own backyard.”

The TDOE’s approval of a waiver will result in over $2 million being re-allocated to support CMCSS’s “Grow Your Own” partnership.

“I am grateful to Austin Peay’s Provost and President who were willing to do whatever it takes to establish an innovative, high-quality program for this partnership while ensuring there was no cost to the students. Not only does this program make sense, but it is about doing the right thing,” said Dr. Prentice Chandler, Dean of the Eriksson College of Education for Austin Peay State University.

Within this model, both a public and a private university agreed to build partnerships with CMCSS so that there is no cost for the future teachers to participate.

CMCSS Chief Academic Officer Sean Impeartrice stated, “It is nice to have leadership in place that listens to districts. This has been an idea we had for over three years. Finally, it is a reality. This is the future of teacher recruitment and preparation. I can’t wait until we have our first graduates from this program, teaching in their communities and fulfilling the calling of the best profession that ever was, teaching.”

TDOE will be hosting a “Grow Your Own” summit on Monday, November 4th for superintendents to share additional information and provide technical assistance for districts to build their own partnerships and models.

“My job is to support and serve districts. The only way I can do that is by seeking input, listening and building relationships, as was the case when CMCSS first contacted me about this initiative. I am grateful for the leadership of Commissioner Schwinn, Director House, Dean Chandler, Dean Boyd and multiple other stakeholders to find a way to get better-prepared teachers for our students, and to replicate best practices statewide.” stated David Donaldson, TDOE Assistant Commissioner of Human Capital.

For any follow-up “Grow Your Own” questions, please contact David Donaldson at . For any media questions, please contact Jennifer Johnson, director of communications, at .


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