Tennessee Tech will finalize its 30 teaching candidates for the Grow Your Own grant program later this month.
College of Education Associate Dean Julie Baker said the 30 candidates will begin taking classes this summer. The candidates will work as they take classes as teaching assistants in five Upper Cumberland Counties. Baker said having the school systems play a part in selecting the candidates is important to selecting home grown teachers.
“Ultimately they’re the ones who are hiring these candidates to be teachers and we want them to feel confident in that choice,” Baker said. “Know that they’re going to be high quality teachers and stay in their districts for a full teaching career.”
Baker said this is a two-year program, and they have targeted locals who have college hours but did not graduate and candidates with 60 hours of course work completed. These 30 candidates will be eligible to teach when they finish the program in 2023.
“We’ve recruited candidates who are teaching assistants in the school system, that was our primary target,” Baker said. “Some of them are just other community members who have been interested in teaching and have some college course work, but haven’t had the ability to go back to school.”
Baker said she expects to have all 30 candidates in place and admitted to Tennessee Tech by the end of January. Although, she said the five Upper Cumberland districts will be hiring all of the candidates.
“These candidates, in addition to the full-time course work, they will be teacher assistants,” Baker said. “These districts are hiring these candidates this year. They’ll be hiring them to start as teacher assistants in the Summer and Fall of 2021. The districts are really investing a lot in these candidates.”
The $500,000 grant comes through the Tennessee Department of Education. Putnam, Warren, White, Overton and Jackson County will be participating in the program.