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HomeEducationTennessee Department of Education announces $4.5 Million Grow Your Own Grants issued

Tennessee Department of Education announces $4.5 Million Grow Your Own Grants issued

Creates Pathways to Become a Teacher for Free

Tennessee Department of EducationNashville, TN – On Thursday, June 23rd, 2021, the?Tennessee Department of Education announced?$4.5 million in Grow Your Own grants has been awarded to establish partnerships between Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs) and local school districts and create innovative pathways to becoming a teacher in Tennessee for free. 

$6.5M Total Awarded to?Strengthen?Teacher Pipeline in Tennessee
$6.5M Total Awarded to?Strengthen?Teacher Pipeline in Tennessee

This second round of Grow Your Own grants awards 45 grants of $100,000 each to 13 EPPs in Tennessee to form?or?expand?state-recognized?Grow Your Own partnerships?with more than 50 school districts across the state.

Building upon the momentum of the initial $2 million investment in the initiative, this latest round of grants from the department significantly expands the Grow Your Own program, totaling a $6.5 million investment in 65 partnerships between 14 EPPs and 63 school districts– enabling over 650 future educators to become a Tennessee teacher for free.

“The department is thrilled to see Grow Your Own partnerships flourishing across the state to further boost the state’s teacher talent pipeline to provide all our students with a high-quality education,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “This investment provides individuals with the opportunity to become a teacher for free and will continue to make Tennessee the best state to become and be a teacher. We are excited to continue to see the success of this program impact the state for years to come.”

The?Grow Your Own competitive?grants are 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. These?grant?funds?will remove barriers to the teaching profession by providing funds to entirely cover tuition, textbooks, and fees for all selected participants, while providing dual licensure or initial licensure opportunities with an additional endorsement.

2021 Grow Your Own Partnership Competitive Grant Awardees 
EPP Grant Awardees  LEA Partners 
Austin Peay State University 
Cheatham County Schools 
Clarksville-Montgomery County School System 
Dickson County Schools 
Hickman County Schools 
Robertson County School 
Freed-Hardeman University  Fayette County Public Schools 
Lincoln Memorial University 
Alcoa City Schools 
Anderson County Schools 
Blount County Schools 
Campbell County Schools 
Clinton City Schools 
Hamblen County Schools 
Hancock County Schools 
Hawkins County Schools 
Jefferson County Schools 
Lenoir City Schools 
Knox County Schools 
Monroe County Schools 
Oak Ridge Schools 
Lipscomb University   Clarksville-Montgomery County School System 
Hamilton County Schools 
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools 
Williamson County Schools 
Milligan University  Elizabethton City Schools 
Middle Tennessee State University  Murfreesboro City Schools 
Nashville Teacher Residency  Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools 
Relay Graduate School of Education  Tennessee Public Charter School Commission 
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools 
Shelby County Schools 
Tennessee Technological University 
Clay County Schools 
Dekalb County Schools 
Hawkins County Schools 
Morgan County Schools 
Oneida Special School District 
Roane County Schools 
Union County Schools 
Tennessee State University 
Bedford County Schools 
Cheatham County Schools 
Clay County Schools 
Decatur County Schools 
Fayetteville City Schools 
Frayser Community Schools 
Germantown Municipal Schools 
Greeneville City Schools 
Marshall County Schools 
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools 
Moore County Schools 
Purpose Prep Academy 
Rutherford County Schools 
Shelby County Schools 
Sumner County Schools 
Tipton County Schools 
Williamson County Schools Wilson County Schools 
Tusculum University  Greene County Schools 
Hawkins County Schools 
University of Tennessee, Knoxville  Blount County Schools 
Knox County Schools 
Monroe County Schools 
Shelby County Schools 
University of Tennessee at Martin  Benton County Schools 
Dyer County Schools 
Dyersburg City Schools 
Haywood County Schools 
Lauderdale County Schools 
McKenzie Special District 
Obion County Schools 
Paris Special School District 
Weakley County Schools 


District leaders, education preparation program leaders, and education chairmen for the Tennessee General Assembly commented on the importance of this program and grant funding to further support the teaching profession across the state.

“The Grow Your Own Program provides needed support to build a successful educator workforce focusing on our existing talent pool of future teachers,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey. “These grants will help prepare incredible teachers, strong schools and connected communities. It is a win-win for Tennessee.”

“Grow Your Own builds deliberate pathways from the community to the classroom and from within our classified staff,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, Director of Schools, Hamilton County Schools. “It also creates more access to teaching for candidates with varied experiences and diverse candidates whose perspectives can help our children thrive.”

“Milligan University is pleased to partner with Elizabethton City Schools on the Grow Your Own grant opportunity,” said Dr. Angela Hilton-Prillhart, Associate Dean School of Social Sciences and Education, Milligan University. “It is rewarding to be part of an initiative that will offer scholarships to individuals who are already working with children who want to become teachers.”

“The Grow Your Own program has been incredibly successful by providing additional learning opportunities and advancing career pathways for local candidates to join the teaching profession,” said House Education Instruction Subcommittee Chairman Scott Cepicky. “We are excited to see this program expanding to other Tennessee communities and know they will benefit from these additional resources.”

“We are looking forward to working with Tennessee State University as part of the Grow Your Own Partnership Grant sponsored by the TDOE,” said Dr. John Combs, Director of Schools, Tipton County Schools. “This opportunity will allow us to address areas of need in our district by increasing the availability of certified teachers in special education and ESL, while utilizing our outstanding educational assistants whose goal it is to become teachers for Tipton County Schools.”

“Thanks to the continued investment by the Tennessee Department of Education in these essential partnerships, APSU has the opportunity to strategically invest and strengthen our teacher pipeline,” said Dr. Prentice Chandler, Dean of the Eriksson College of Education, Austin Peay State University. “This work matters, and we appreciate the state’s commitment to ensuring all our students will have access to high-quality teachers.”

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.

Funding for the Grow Your Own competitive grant is available through federal COVID-19 stimulus funding. 

To read more about our existing Grow Your Own partnerships in Tennessee and to see a full list of Grow Your Own grant awardees, click here.


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