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Educator recruitment and retention are high-leverage needs for stakeholders across the Central region. Research shows a lack of diversity in the teacher workforce and suggests that diversifying the workforce may help close the achievement gap (Goldhaber, Theobald, & Tien, 2015). Therefore, increasing the diversity of the educator pool to better match the student populations across the region continues to be an important component for student success. Grow Your Own (GYO) programs are one way to address issues of teacher recruitment. To help stakeholders better understand GYO programs and ways to implement GYO programs within their states, districts, or communities, REL Central will host a webinar, Diversifying and Widening the Teacher Pipeline with Grow Your Own Programs, on March 19.

Conra Gist, associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston and webinar presenter, will share research on GYO programs as viable pathways for increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of the educator pool. Specifically, she will discuss the range of data sources on different types of GYO program teacher pools, and their influence across a continuum of teacher development.

Diversifying and Widening the Teacher Pipeline with Grow Your Own Programs

The webinar will feature two GYO programs that focus on recruiting local talent pools to meet school staffing needs. Presenters Michelle Dennis, program coordinator for the Teacher Cadet Program of Colorado, and Nicolle Adair, supervisor for COMOEd and Grow Your Own at Columbia Public Schools, will discuss strategies from their evidence-based GYO programs developed to address issues of educator shortages, retention, and diversity.

“Participants will walk away with not only an understanding of GYO programs, but also ideas of how a GYO program might be developed and implemented in their regions to address issues of recruitment, retention, and diversity of teachers. Understanding the challenges and successes of these programs can be critical for states and localities that are considering pursing GYOs to meet their staffing needs,” explained Douglas Van Dine, REL Central researcher and webinar facilitator.

Learn more about GYO programs by visiting the Diversifying and Widening the Teacher Pipeline with Grow Your Own Programs webinar event page.


Goldhaber, D., Theobald, R., & Tien, C. (2015). The theoretical and empirical arguments for diversifying the teacher workforce: A review of the evidence (CEDR Policy Brief WP #2015-9). Seattle, WA: The Center for Education Data & Research, University of Washington Bothell.
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