DESE Announces Grant Awards For Teacher Preparation Programs

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has announced the recipients of the first-ever state-funded “Grow Your Own” Grants.

125 local education agencies, or LEAs, were chosen for one-time grants of $10,000 to create or strengthen a local “Grow Your Own” program.

The Trenton, Putnam County, Chillicothe, St Joseph, Brookfield, and Kirksville School Districts were among the LEAs selected in this round.

15 educator preparation programs at 4-year institutions received $75,000 in funding through the program. Northwest Missouri State, Missouri Western, the University of Missouri, and the University of Central Missouri had their programs chosen. North Central Missouri College was one of three two-year institutions to receive $45,000.

Grow Your Own programs work to attract local students as well as non-certified school staff, such as paraprofessionals and substitute teachers, to the teaching profession. Many programs also support those future teachers through their post-secondary education and path to certification. Funding is used to support a variety of activities, including dual credit courses, scholarships for high school students, student internships, and opportunities for other non-teaching adults to pursue programs that will allow them to become certified teachers.

Applications were taken through a competitive grant application process. The grant funds must be obligated with a reimbursement requested by May 31st of next year.

The funding was part of DESE’s 2023-24 budget funding.