For Immediate Release
June 29, 2006
More than $2 million in grants available through Grow
Your Own Teacher program
SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to increase teacher
retention in hard-to-staff schools, more than $2,250,000
is now available for ‘Grow Your Own Teacher’ implementation.
The Grow Your Own Teachers Initiative works to encourage
and support paraprofessionals, parents, and other active
community members in becoming certified as teachers,
and encourages graduates of the program to accept positions
in schools that have difficulty attracting or retaining
It provides loan forgiveness if the candidate teaches
for five years in a hard-to-staff school or hard-to-staff
teaching position. A “hard-to-staff school” is
an Illinois public school that ranks in the upper third
among public schools of its type (e.g., elementary, middle,
secondary) in terms of the rate of attrition among teachers.
Grant awards are expected to top out at approximately
$200,000. Eligible applicants are consortia whose membership
includes at least one four-year, accredited institution
of higher education with an approved teacher education
program, at least one school district or group of schools
and at least one community organization. Membership in
a consortium by additional four-year institutions, schools
and community organizations, as well as by two-year institutions
of higher education or school employees’ unions,
An eligible “community organization” is
a nonprofit organization that has a demonstrated capacity
to train, develop and organize parents and community
leaders into a constituency that will hold the school
and the school district accountable for achieving high
The expanded program was refined with the recent passage
of SB2235 and is part of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s
bold new education plan aimed at reversing 25 years of
chronic underfunding in the state’s public schools.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Fiscal Year 2007
budget includes a major increase in education funding
- $415 million more for PreK-12 education. The budget
also funds new initiatives proposed by the Governor including
universal preschool and a grant program for families
struggling to afford the high costs of college.
Over four years, Governor Blagojevich dedicated $3.8
billion of new funding for Illinois schools. This represents
more new money invested in education than any other state
in the Midwest, more than 43 other states in the nation,
and more than any administration in one term in Illinois
The grant period begins July 1, 2006, and will extend
from the execution date of the grant through June 30,
Applications should be submitted now for activities
planned within this fiscal year. Funding in the subsequent
years is contingent upon a sufficient appropriation from
the General Assembly and satisfactory progress in the
preceding grant period.
Applications will be accepted anytime until March 1,
2007 or until all funds have been awarded.
Mail the original and four copies to the attention of
Linda Jamali, Illinois State Board of Education, 100
North First Street, S-306, Springfield, Illinois 62777-0001.
The application is available online at: http://www.isbe.net/certification/pdf/rfp_gyo.pdf.
For more information visit the Web site of Grow Your
Own Illinois, a project of the Illinois State Board of
Education and the Chicago Learning Campaign, at www.growyourownteachers.org.