An agreement between Missouri State University and Springfield Public Schools (SPS) aims to keep teachers close to home.
The university and SPS signed a memorandum of understanding today (Dec. 9) at Hillcrest High School to create a “Grow Your Own” program, a district-wide initiative that identifies high school and college students who want to become educators.
“This initiative is going to recruit new teachers into the profession who will commit to staying in the community,” said Dr. Barri Tinkler, interim dean of the College of Education. “As the teacher shortage continues to intensify across Missouri, these kinds of alliances are an investment in the future of our state.”
The state of Missouri and SPS are experiencing a shortage of K-12 teachers, in part due to educators retiring or leaving the field. Fewer people are also entering the teaching profession. The COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to the shortage.
“To address the ongoing teacher shortage, we must continue to explore innovative ways to reach potential teacher candidates,” said Dr. Grenita Lathan, SPS superintendent. “Grow Your Own will help us connect with future teachers earlier, provide them experience in our classrooms and encourage them to join Team SPS when they graduate.
“We appreciate Missouri State joining forces with us in the Grow Your Own program. We believe this effort will enhance and further diversify teacher preparation programs and the teaching staff at Springfield Public Schools.”
About the Grow Your Own program
The program consists of two pathways: One covering high school juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in education, and one covering college students who are accepted into a program related to education.
Springfield Public Schools currently offers the Teaching as a Profession program of study at Central, Hillcrest and Kickapoo high schools and is considering expanding to Glendale and Parkview high schools.
Missouri State will provide a $2,000 access scholarship each year to any SPS student who is selected and accepted into the program and enrolls at the university. Current MSU and Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) students may also be eligible for the scholarship.
Information about how to apply for the new program will be available soon.