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Ask A REL Response

October 2018


What research has been conducted on "grow your own teacher" program?


Following an established REL Southeast research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles on "grow your own educators" programs. We focused on identifying resources that specifically addressed "grow your own educators" programs The sources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic research databases, and general Internet search engines (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

We have not evaluated the quality of references and the resources provided in this response. We offer them only for your reference. These references are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. Also, we searched the references in the response from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant references and resources may exist.

Research References

  1. Bert, G., & Richards, K. A. R. (2018). Developing a future teachers' club to facilitate physical education teacher recruitment: Do you hear the call? Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 89(7), 9-15.
    From the abstract: "The past decade has seen declining enrollments in physical education teacher education, which has contributed to university program closures. Some of the challenges leading to these declines are related to how the physical education profession recruits and socializes new members. Traditionally, recruitment has been a passive process whereby prospective teachers find their own way into physical education. But teacher education faculty members and inservice teachers need to take a more active role. Guided by occupational socialization theory, this article reviews how high school teachers can get involved in recruitment by organizing a Future Physical Education Teachers of America club. The article describes the development of a club, as well as three interrelated goals focused on education, visitation and teaching practice. It concludes by discussing how working together to actively recruit future professionals into the physical education can lead to a more favorable future for the discipline."
  2. Bianco, M., Leech, N. L., & Mitchell, K. (2011). Pathways to teaching: African American male teens explore teaching as a career. Journal of Negro Education, 80(3), 368-383.
    From the abstract: "The need for African American male teachers is clear; however their pathway to teaching is in disrepair. This article shares research findings and a description of a pre-collegiate course designed to encourage high school students of color, including African American males, to explore teaching. More specifically, drawing from survey and interview data, the researchers examine factors that influence 11th and 12th grade African American males' (N = 5) consideration of a teaching career and explore the impact of a pre-collegiate pathway to teaching program, The results of this mixed methods study expose the complexity of effective recruitment while also demonstrating how a successful program has the capacity to encourage young African American males to reframe their thinking and see themselves as potential future teachers. (Contains 1 table.)"
  3. Bryan, N., & Milton Williams, T. (2017). We need more than just male bodies in classrooms: Recruiting and retaining culturally relevant black male teachers in early childhood education. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 38(3), 209-222.
    From the abstract: "Nationwide, school districts struggle to recruit and retain Black males to the teaching profession. As a result, the presence of Black male teachers is lacking in public schools, which impacts the overall student outcomes for all children, particularly Black boys. Such recruitment and retention becomes even worse at the early childhood level, which explains the paucity of Black male teachers who are early childhood educators. To date, only 2% of teachers are Black males, of which most are middle and high school teachers. Furthermore, the clarion call for Black males to become teachers does not often prioritize Black male teachers who are culturally relevant. In this article, we focus on educational research regarding the lack of diversity of teachers and among males in K-12 to provide recommendations to the field of early childhood education, with specific attention to recruiting and retaining culturally relevant Black male teachers in early childhood education."
  4. Kamler, E., & Goubeaud, K. (2018). Forging developmental relationships in the grow your own teacher program. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 26(2), 207-225.
    From the abstract: "In the Grow Your Own Teacher (GYOT) program, an initiative developed by a university located on Long Island, New York, and funded by a congressionally-directed grant, a diverse cohort of 11th grade low-income students were financially, academically, and emotionally supported in their goal of becoming math or science teachers in predominantly high needs local school districts. In this article, the formation and solidifying of the developmental relationships, which underscored this intensified mentoring effort, were examined. Throughout the selection and implementation phases of the GYOT program, data were collected from multiple sources from both the secondary and post-secondary levels and analyzed to illuminate the organizational structures, activities, and techniques, the relationship-building elements, which enabled these students"
  5. Love, T. S., Love, Z. J., & Love, K. S. (2016). Better Practices for Recruiting T&E teachers. Technology and Engineering Teacher, 76(1), 10-15.
    From the abstract: "The declining number of Technology and Engineering (T&E) educators and teacher preparation programs across the country has been identified as a critical issue plaguing the field for many years (Daugherty, 1998; Volk, 1993). Unfortunately, this issue continues to progress and has raised concerns. Why should middle and high school T&E educators be concerned? The answer is simple: teachers have been identified as the most influential factor in encouraging students to pursue T&E education as a career. Without current educators helping universities to recruit future T&E teachers, many programs face the grim reality of closure for enrollment and budgetary reasons. This article presents 14 strategies supported by research and recent recruitment efforts that teachers should use to encourage students to become T&E educators."
  6. Sutton, J. P., Bausmith, S. C., O'Connor, D. M., Pae, H. A., & Payne, J. R. (2014). Building special education teacher capacity in rural schools: Impact of a grow your own program. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 33(4), 14-23.
    From the abstract: "Rural education has a legacy of unique challenges, with highest priority needs in the South. Chief among these challenges are the conditions of poverty associated with many rural districts and the education of students with disabilities. Compared with their urban and suburban counterparts, rural teachers experience higher rates of turnover, and rural schools find it more difficult to recruit teachers from the start. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which a grow your own (GYO) program equitably increased special education teacher capacity in one Southern state's rural and non-rural school districts. The sample included 638 participants who completed special education teacher licensure programs over the 8-year period, 2003-2011. Statistical analysis revealed a significant difference in one demographic variable, licensure area. The rural group had disproportionately fewer program completers in emotional disabilities and more in multi-categorical. Additional analysis showed a significantly higher percentage of program completers in the rural group. Limitations and implications for future research are discussed."
  7. Swanson, P. B. (2011). Georgia's grow-your-own teacher programs attract the right stuff. High School Journal, 94(3), 119-133.
    From the abstract: "There is a shortage of educators and there are various factors that account for the lack of teachers. Millions of new teachers will be needed in the near future and the present study juxtaposes the vocational personality profiles of adolescents (N = 262) participating in Future Educators of America programs in Georgia to in-service teachers' profiles as determined by Holland's "Self-Directed Search" inventory. Using Holland's theoretical framework for congruence between one's personality and the workplace as a lens, the results indicated that adolescents in the future educator programs shared the same Holland code as in-service teachers. Noting that teachers tend to return to the area in which they were raised, findings from this research have serious implications for the identification and recruitment of tomorrow's teaching force. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)"

Additional Organizations to Consult

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders:

From the website: "The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) is dedicated to supporting state education leaders in their efforts to grow, respect, and retain great teachers and leaders for all students. The GTL Center continues the work of the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (TQ Center) and expands its focus to provide technical assistance and online resources designed to build systems that:

  • Support the implementation of college and career standards.
  • Ensure the equitable access of effective teachers and leaders.
  • Recruit, retain, reward, and support effective educators.
  • Develop coherent human capital management systems.
  • Create safe academic environments that increase student learning through positive behavior management and appropriate discipline.
  • Use data to guide professional development and improve instruction."

The Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, & Advancement (CERRA):

From the website: "CERRA's agenda is a comprehensive one in which the Center pursues a variety of programs for increasing the number of students in the education pipeline and recruiting and retaining qualified, caring, and competent teachers. The Center's primary target groups are middle and high school students, college students, and adults interested in changing careers.

CERRA also targets groups of accomplished teachers through programs including mentoring, teacher leadership and National Board Certification. The network of educators in our programs overlaps in powerful ways to increase the level of collaboration for recruitment, retention, and advancement of South Carolina educators."


Keywords and Search Strings
The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Grow your own teacher program
  • Effectiveness of grow your own teacher program
  • Teacher recruitment

Databases and Resources
We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and PsychInfo.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published for last 15 years, from 2003 to present, were include in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published and/or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations, academic databases, including ERIC, EBSCO databases, JSTOR database, PsychInfo, PsychArticle, and Google Scholar.
  • Methodology: Following methodological priorities/considerations were given in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types - randomized control trials,, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, etc., generally in this order (b) target population, samples (representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected, etc.), study duration, etc. (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, etc.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Southeast Region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at Florida State University. This memorandum was prepared by REL Southeast under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0011, administered by Florida State University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.