“Grow Your Own Teachers is an initiative in the State of Illinois to identify, train, and employ 1000 or more fully qualified teachers who have previous ties to the low-income communities where they will work. Each program under this initiative is organized and run by a consortium of institutions, including at least a teacher preparation university or college, a community-based organization, and a school district.” (www.growyourownteachers.org)
The School of Education, SIUE, is proud to be a GYO partner in the East St. Louis Consortium, along with East St. Louis District 189, East St. Louis NAACP, and Southwest Illinois College. We are currently in our first year of implementation with 47 active participants, of which approximately 1/3 are men. All cohort members are African-American, with a median age of 38. Most of the students in the cohort are working on an Associate of Arts degree from Southwest Illinois College. Our first class of candidates will begin their professional coursework in special education in fall 2008, with courses being offered at the East St. Louis Higher Education Center.
Grow Your Own Illinois is a state initiative funded through legislation that supports community members working to complete teacher education degrees who might not otherwise be able to attend college. Since nearly all candidates in the cohort work full time, most of them in District 189, School of Education courses will be offered in the evenings at the East St. Louis Center. Mentoring is provided to candidates by retired District 189 teachers, counselors, administrators, and librarians. The GYO grant also provides funding for child care in order for candidates with children to attend classes.
The goal of our East St. Louis GYO consortium is to graduate and certify highly qualified teachers who will teach in District 189. An added benefit of this project is the close partnering of the School of Education and District 189.
To receive more information about GYO Illinois, contact www.growyourownteachers.org.
To receive information about the East St. Louis Consortium of GYO, contact Ms. LaToya Greenwood or Dr. Bill Searcy.