Grow Your Own Teachers: An Innovative Illinois Initiative

Grow Your Own Teachers represents a community-based, strategic solution to high teacher turnover in low-income schools; too few teachers of color; and too few teachers who know the students, their families, their language and their culture well.

Grow Your Own initiatives are innovative partnerships of community organizations, higher education institutions, and school districts. They support the non-traditional GYO teacher candidates--parents, community members, and paraprofessionals—to become highly effective teachers for the schools in the low-income communities where they live. The goals of the Grow Your Own (GYO) initiative are to create a pipeline of highly qualified teachers of color; to improve teacher retention in low-income schools; to prepare teachers for hard-to-staff schools and hard-to-fill positions, such as bilingual and special education; and to increase cultural competence and community connections of teachers

GYO Partnerships:  There are 16 GYO partnerships in Illinois, 8 in Chicago and one each in Alton, East St. Louis, Peoria, Quad Cities, Rockford, South Suburbs, Southernmost Illinois, and Springfield. Partnerships include 16 community organizations, 12 public and private colleges and universities, 12 community colleges, 23 school districts, and 2 unions.