Washington students and educators will benefit from cultivating and growing future educators from within existing communities, particularly bilingual communities and communities of color. The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) ask the legislature to invest $5.5 million a year in a Grow Your Own (GYO) grant program that will support school districts in developing staff from within their local communities to address hard to fill positions.
A GYO grant program would support community based efforts in recruiting, developing, placing, and retaining highly qualified & diverse teachers. A state level investment will support staffing resources at both the district and post secondary level, ensuring a durable transition for successful candidates in pursuing a certificate and beginning a career in education. GYO programs move our state forward in terms of educational equity, and will improve academic outcomes for all students. By identifying early individuals interested in education, making durable connections between high school and postsecondary coursework and institutions, and tracking the progress of students in a Grow Your Own program, Washington will address the current and persistent educator shortages and lack of diversity in the educator workforce. Further, a durable and accessible pathway to becoming an educator that bridges high school and postsecondary experiences will benefit all students interested in becoming an educator.
Bilingual From Within!
Washington students and educators will benefit from cultivating and growing future educators from within their own community, creating stronger connections and meeting unique local demands in the educator workforce. Washington is experiencing a shortage in diverse teachers, leaving many students unable to see themselves in the educators that serve them. Allowing students of color to find connection and shared experience with the educators that serve them promotes stronger bonds within the education community and gives all students greater exposure to diverse individuals and diverse communities. Currently, Approximately 44% of washington students are students of color. However, teachers of color make up only 10% of the teacher workforce in Washington. Our schools and our educators must reflect and include the students and families they serve, breaking down generational divides and promoting multiethnic communities of inclusion.
Success in Renton
The Renton School District’s Careers in Education program, known as the Renton High School Teacher Academy, was initiated in 2007 and is the longest operating Grow Your Own model program in the state. This two year Career and Technical Education program, supported by cross sector partnerships, is designed to help recruit students in the exploration of a career in education. Supported by a full time district coordinator, the goal is to expand the program district wide.
Bridging the program into postsecondary course work, Highline Community College provides career awareness, student mentors, collaborative instructional programs, a youth summit, and an annual Teaching Equity Conference. This partnership allows future educators to visit the Highline Community College campus and engage in activities pertaining to the pursuit of a career in education.
Central Washington University hosts two summer academies for future educators, both on the campus in Des Moines and another in Ellensburg. These are organized and facilitated by CWU staff and include full exposure to campus life helping future students make a lasting connection to the campus and its programs in education.
Potential in Bellingham
Western Washington University and Highline school district are partnering to offer a Grow Your Own teacher model. This two-year program will be cohort based and leads to a university degree in addition to teacher certification in K-8 and ELL or Bilingual Education. The design includes intensive summer content sessions for future bilingual teachers with face-to-face instruction, joint mentoring workshops, joint Professional Learning Communities and many coached experiences with K-8 students. The experience is tailored to suit individual participant strengths, ensuring that each potential future educator has the supports and guidance that best fits their needs and ambitions.
Future educators and mentors will participate in shared learning communities and professional development provided by the school district. As Future educators progress through the program they will have increased opportunity for job embedded learning giving them first hand experience in a classroom with careful mentoring every step of the way. Priority will be given to bilingual and underrepresented future educators from the community. Program applicants will sign a commitment to serve for two years as a teacher in Washington State serving a high need area.