Grow Your Own Teachers Program

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q:  What is the rationale for the Grow Your Own Teacher program?

    A: The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Office of Educator Quality) commissioned a State Advisory Council to conduct research on shortages in the teacher pipeline which led to the development of a Grow Your Own resource guide that focused on four components: Awareness, Exposure, Experience, and Education. 

    The Grow Our Own Teacher (GYOT) program in Liberty Public Schools will help the District actualize its diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities by recruiting, hiring, and retaining teachers of color. 

    The program is designed for students of color who will be graduates of the Liberty Public Schools and are interested in pursuing careers in education.  Components of the program include: financial support, professional learning seminars, work experiences, mentor support and job placement upon successful completion of all requirements for teacher certification and criteria of the program. 

    The Grow Your Own Teacher Program in Liberty Public School will:

    • Align with LPS Strategic Plan Goal II- “Every student will develop personal, social, and civic responsibility.
    • Align with the District’s priorities centered on diversity, equity and inclusion.  Specifically, the Superintendent’s Diversity and Equity Committee, as well as the District Leadership Team’s Equity Work Groups.    

    Q:  Why is the Grow Your Own Program geared toward students of color?

    A:  Liberty Public Schools is a growing community with a population that is becoming more culturally, racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse. With our focus on continuous improvement, we routinely engage in self-analysis of our workforce needs.  As such, Liberty Public Schools has recognized the need to diversify our certificated teaching staff, and has developed the Grow Your Own Teacher program to enhance the diversity of the teacher applicant pool.  It is our intent that applicants for the GYOT program be recruited for careers in education from among our current senior class of Liberty High School and Liberty North High School students.

    Fast Facts:

    • In partnership with Clay County African American Legacy Inc., LPS received the Garrison School Cultural Center 2017 Response to the Call Award for the development of this initiative.
    • Students of color comprise 20.44% of the demographic served in LPS.  Teachers of color comprise 5% of certificated classroom teaching staff in LPS.

    Q:  How will high school students be selected to participate in the Grow Your Own Teacher program?

    A:  A total of four students will be selected to participate in the Grow Your Own Teacher program based upon the following criteria:

    • Be admitted into an accredited college/university to become a teacher
    • Be a good citizen
    • Submit a written essay on why they desire to become an educator
    • Provide three (3) letter of recommendation
    • Complete an online application by the established deadline
    • Participate in a face-to-face interview with the GYOT Selection Committee
    • Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75

    Prospective student applicants will be students of color at Liberty High School and Liberty North High School who have an interest in careers in education, as identified through the following: Educational Internship Program (EIP), A+ Program, students in child development, child care, and guidance courses, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), and the Equal Opportunity Schools Program.

    Q:  Are there other districts across the state of Missouri with Grow Your Own Teacher programs?

    A:  According to the State’s resource guide, the following school districts or organizations are leading the way with implementation of Grow Your Own Teacher programs:

    • Cassville R-IV
    • Center School District
    • Columbia Public Schools
    • Community Foundation of the Ozarks
    • Ft. Zumwalt
    • Parkway School District
    • Raytown Quality Schools
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