Tennessee Awards Grants to Expand Alternate Teacher Certification Program

Advocate Andy

State awards funds to five educator prep programs to help stem teacher shortage

The State of Tennessee is an expanding an alternative teacher certification program known as "Grow Your Own" that allows individuals with a bachelor's degree to earn a teaching certificate in one year while under the supervision of an existing classroom teacher.

The Department of Education announced it is awarding grants totaling $5 million to five educator preparation programs in order to expand the program and accelerate the number of alternatively certified teachers heading into classrooms.

"Since the department launched the Grow Your Own initiative in 2020, we are thrilled to see higher education partners and school districts come together in innovative ways to help more aspiring teachers enter the profession,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Our collaboration and shared commitment to create high-quality teacher apprenticeship programs will increase the number of qualified educators across the state serving students in our classrooms.”

The grants are being awarded to Austin Peay State University, Lincoln Memorial University, Arete Memphis Public Montessori, Lipscomb University, and the University of Memphis. 

Grant recipients expressed appreciation for the state funding and committed to work quickly to attract candidates to the program.

  “We are so grateful for the support of the TN Department of Education and the UT Grow Your Own Center,” said Dr. Lisa Barron, Associate Dean and Director of Teacher Education and Partnerships, Austin Peay State University. “This subgrant will allow us to continue the exciting apprenticeship work we are doing with our district partners – stemming the teacher shortage and supporting a more diverse teacher workforce."

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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