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GYO Entry Points

Needs Assessment and Network Inventory

Needs Assessment

Prior to starting a Grow Your Own (GYO) program, it’s important to know the current and projected needs the program will meet. For example, a GYO program designed to fill science and math positions would be misaligned in a Local Education Agency (LEA) with elementary special education openings and an English department approaching retirement in the next 3-5 years. Therefore, a good first step in the GYO process is to conduct a needs assessment to determine the immediate and projected needs for all educational levels and roles across a LEA.

One method for identifying these needs is to distribute a Needs Assessment form (See GYO Tools and Resources: Needs Assessment) to all educators, including support staff and building and district leaders within the LEA. Alternatively, the assessment questions could be circulated via a survey or discussed during grade level, department, and/or all staff meetings. The data collected should then be analyzed and chronologically categorized from immediate to projected areas of need.

Immediate needs can be met with alternative certification and residency programs and partnerships with institutions of higher education. Projected needs can be met with early recruitment pipelines, dual credit education courses, and partnerships with Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). See GYO Highlights Across New York for examples of the various GYO programs being implemented in the state to meet current and long-term needs.

Network Inventory

Education is a professional and social field of networking. Combining partner resources across LEA lines and between the secondary and postsecondary levels increases opportunities, activities, and events available to GYO candidates. As a first step, it can be helpful to discover partnerships that can be made through a LEA staff’s already established connections.

One method for identifying these potential partnerships is to distribute a Network Inventory form (See GYO Tools and Resources: Network Inventory) to all LEA staff, including educators, clerical personnel, and LEA business leaders. Alternatively, the assessment questions could be circulated via a survey or discussed during grade level, department, and/or all staff meetings.

Compare the list of connections with the immediate and projected partner needs from the Needs Assessment data. Discuss with LEA staff who have connections with potential partners to determine first communication steps. Depending on the nature of the connection, it may be helpful for the LEA staff member to make introductions between the GYO program leaders and the partner connection. Alternatively, a name drop of the LEA staff member may suffice. Keep all Network Inventory information on file for partner needs that may pop up in the future.

Regularly Update Needs & Network

It’s good practice to regularly conduct Needs Assessments and update the Network Inventory to ensure GYO programs are continually aligned with meeting LEA needs. The regularity depends on the LEA’s size and turnover rate, but updates once a year to every three years is a good range.

Early Recruitment Pipelines

First Steps

In creating early recruitment pipeline clubs (e.g. Future Teachers of America, or Take a Look at Teaching), it is important to appoint a club advisor who is passionate about education and has a great rapport with students. These attributes model the benefits of the field as well as the desired dispositions of educators. The club advisor should reach out to teachers and leaders across their Local Education Agency (LEA) to publicize the club and seek volunteers to host club members in job shadowing activities. The club advisor could also reach out to advisors in neighboring LEAs to learn about their club activities and chat about potential partnerships and joint events (see GYO Entry Points: Partnerships for more information).

Wide View of Education and Pathways

Assisting at the elementary level is a very common teaching activity for club members and easily attracts those who are interested in elementary-level teaching. However, a narrow offering of experiences could deter those who are interested in secondary-level teaching or leadership positions. To be more inclusive, it’s helpful to provide club activities, events, and job shadowing experiences that represent a variety of roles, as well as the various pathways educators have taken in their pursuit of those roles.

In reaching out to colleagues and leaders for job shadowing opportunities, club advisors can also ask them to share their journey into education. Volunteers could write or record a short message about why they went into education, the route they took to their current role, and their favorite experiences as educators. Some could also share their experiences in person as club meeting guest speakers. There are many pathways that lead people into education; sharing these experiences can inspire students who may not be on a traditional trajectory to teaching.


Partnering with neighboring LEAs that have existing early recruitment pipeline clubs and/or LEAs that are interested in creating a club provides opportunities for club members to be a part of the networking experience that is the field of education. Pooling LEA resources provides club members greater access to ideas, funding, and experiences. Students can learn from their peers, particularly across demographics, and they can observe and job shadow with a greater number of teachers and leaders. Utilizing a shared online platform (e.g., Google) between LEAs can assist in the exchange of information and coordinating schedules. (See GYO Entry Points: Partnerships for more information on making LEA connections.)

Colleges and universities that offer teacher and leader preparation programs can be valuable partners for early recruitment pipeline clubs as well. Campus visits can be an enticing way for club members to immerse themselves in campus culture while previewing a pathway into education. Additionally, successful campus visits can help preparation programs to meet their enrollment goals. Club members can sit in on courses with current education students and participate in class activities. The college or university could also assemble panel discussions for club members consisting of current students, alumni, faculty, and/or program leaders from various programs across the education spectrum, such as early childhood, elementary, adolescence, special education, leadership, school counseling, social work, psychology, speech pathology, and English as a New Language. (See GYO Entry Points: Partnerships for more information on making college and university connections.)

Club Meetings

Early recruitment pipeline clubs meet regularly and accomplish numerous agenda items throughout a school year, such as engaging in analytical discussions and reflective discussions about effective teaching practices, and planning club activities and events that focus on supporting students, assisting educators, growing as professionals, and fortifying the local supply of future educators. Club meetings are also an opportunity for members to learn about:

  • The various roles in education at the early elementary, elementary, secondary, and leadership levels, including teaching assistants, classroom teachers, special education teachers, English as a New Language (ENL) teachers, school counselors, social workers, psychologists, speech pathologists, and school and district leaders.
  • New York State certification requirements for the various roles in education, including required course work, degrees, certification exams, workshops, and fingerprinting.
  • The multiple pathways into education from LEA educators and recent alumni as they share their experiences and nature of their work.
  • Options for certification financing such as alternative certification programs, residency programs, apprenticeships, scholarships, grants, and loans.

Teaching Activities

A key element of early recruitment pipeline clubs is candidates’ active engagement in teaching activities with LEA teachers and leaders. Whenever possible, it is beneficial to match candidates with mentors whose backgrounds are similar to their own so candidates may fully visualize themselves as educators. This could be an opportunity to form LEA-to-LEA partnerships across socio-economic lines, emphasizing the importance and benefits of networking and support in education.

Teaching activities should meet all candidates’ educational interests, from early elementary to secondary levels, and all educational roles from classroom support to classroom teaching to leadership. The most common teaching activity club members engage in is reading books aloud in elementary classrooms and school or public libraries. Club members could also record their reading for elementary students to access on their classroom website or create craft and/or literacy activities to accompany the stories they read.

At the early elementary level, some club members have participated in community daycare sites in their high schools where, in conjunction with the daycare and preschool teachers, club members write and implement lesson plans. At the elementary level, club members have assisted with after school programs, chaperoned field trips, designed bulletin boards, and created Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Night or Science Fair booths for elementary students to observe or participate in. At the secondary level, club members have job shadowed teachers, and co-wrote and co-taught lesson plans.

Club Events

Early recruitment pipeline clubs provide opportunities for members to engage in professional development events and activities. Campus visits are common activities for early recruitment, where club members have immersive experiences on college and university campuses with the students, faculty, and staff of teacher preparation programs. Early recruitment clubs have also attended professional development events and education conferences hosted by institutions of higher education, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), local organizations, or jointly hosted by education consortia. And club members can also create their own school-level events such as thank you card services for educator appreciation week. Club members can provide supplies and prompts for their peers to create thank you cards to show their appreciation for educators across their LEA. Club members can also assist in delivering the cards to recipients.


LEAs with existing early recruitment pipeline clubs suggest other LEAs starting up early recruitment clubs should, when possible, add the club to teacher contracts, explaining that this provides access to club funds for advisor stipends, transportation costs, and club events. For campus visits, colleges and universities often cover the associated costs (e.g., lunch on campus for club members) through their marketing, recruitment, and/or admissions department. See GYO Funding Opportunities for more information on financing available to support early recruitment clubs.


Network Inventory

Partnerships are beneficial to candidates within Grow Your Own (GYO) programs and the dedicated educators managing the programs. Pooling resources between neighboring Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and institutions of higher education increases support, opportunities, activities, and events for all involved. The Network Inventory Form is a helpful tool for LEA colleagues and leaders to identify potential partnerships through established connections. (See GYO Entry Points: Needs Assessment & Network Inventory, as well as GYO Tools and Resources: Network Inventory.)

P-12 Partnerships

LEA schools and offices can partner with one another to meet GYO candidate interests and LEA needs. For example, high schools can connect with elementary schools to create teaching experiences for early pipeline GYO candidates while also providing assistance to elementary schools who may have paraprofessional vacancies. Partnerships can also be created with neighboring LEAs to increase opportunities for candidates to learn from peers, network with educational professionals, and job shadow with mentors of diverse backgrounds. LEA-to-LEA partnerships are especially beneficial for pooling resources and in creating GYO events, activities, and professional development opportunities. Utilizing a shared platform such as Google can be helpful in sharing information and schedules between LEAs. Please see GYO Conversation Starters for talking points that can be utilized in forming P-12 partnerships.

Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) Partnerships

There are 37 BOCES across New York State that provide educational programs and support to the school districts, administrators, teachers, and students within their region. By pooling resources into these centralized locations, BOCES organizations are able to meet diverse and evolving needs with cost-effective and relevant programs including automotive, cosmetology, nursing, education, and many others.

Aside from the “Big Five” city school districts (New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Syracuse), virtually all New York school districts have inherent partnerships with their regional BOCES and are at liberty to connect with them regarding GYO programs and curricula related to the field of education. A great starting point for LEAs interested in creating a GYO program would be to explore the education curricula currently being offered by their local BOCES as well as other BOCES locations.

P-12 LEA partners can work together in shaping the local BOCES programming available to GYO candidates. BOCES may provide any allowable service requested by two or more school districts in their region, with the approval of the education commissioner based on need and practicality in that region. Please see GYO Highlights Across New York: BOCES Programs to learn about education curricula currently offered at numerous BOCES locations. Please see GYO Conversation Starters for talking points that can be utilized in reaching out to BOCES.

Higher Education Partnerships

Partnerships with institutions of higher education (IHEs) are quite beneficial due to their pivotal role in preparing educators. Some possible points of contact are program directors, coordinators, department chairs, and/or faculty within education programs. GYO programs should start locally, reaching out to educator preparation programs offered at nearby community colleges and four-year colleges and universities. If there are no education programs within the vicinity of the GYO program, larger universities across the state could also be contacted as they may have the staff and infrastructure to partner with GYO programs remotely. Please see GYO Conversation Starters for talking points that can be utilized in forming partnerships with institutions of higher education. For more information on forming partnerships with IHEs, please see the New York State Education Department's Guidance for a Partnership Agreement.

Dual Credit Education Courses and Articulation Agreements

High school students in Grow Your Own (GYO) programs who wish to get a head start on their education pathway can   complete some college course work while in high school through dual credit courses and articulation agreements. (Please see GYO Overview: Dual Credit Education Courses & Articulation Agreements for more information.)

Dual Credit Courses

Dual credit courses are college courses high school students complete to earn college credits and simultaneously meet some of their high school graduation requirements (e.g. English 12, Participation in Government, etc.). Dual credit courses may be taught by high school teachers in their own classrooms, with the approval and oversight of the college or university that owns the college course. A Local Education Agency (LEA) could also design a college-level course and seek a college or university to sponsor and award college credits to LEA students who complete the course.

To implement a dual credit course, the interested LEA should reach out to the college or university offering the course. Some possible points of contact are the University in the High School coordinator for the institution, or the department chair or school dean where the course is offered. The institution will then go over the approval process, which includes the LEA completing a course proposal that typically consists of the following documents:

  1. Course Proposal Form. The institution will provide the LEA with course and syllabus guidelines, sample syllabi from past course offerings, a sampling of course materials that have been used previously in the course, and a course proposal form. The form will need to be completed with basic information such as the LEA name, the course name and number, the LEA teacher who will teach the course, when the course will be offered, etc.
  2. LEA Teacher’s Resume. The institution department will review the teacher’s resume to determine if their education and experience meet the qualifications required to teach a college-level course. This determination may include a site visit to the teacher’s classroom.
  3. Course Syllabus. The institution will provide the LEA with a list of syllabus requirements, ensuring the syllabus submitted by the LEA includes the same relevant information required of courses taught on campus.
  4. Textbook and Course Materials. The LEA should provide the title, author, publication date, and preferably the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) of all proposed textbooks that will be used in the course. The LEA should also provide copies of sample course materials, such as assessments, assignments, rubrics, etc. The proposed textbook(s) and course materials will be reviewed by the institution for approval.

Depending on when the proposal is submitted, it may take several months to a year for a dual credit course to be approved. While waiting for approval, the LEA may notify parents and students that the proposal has been submitted, but the course cannot begin until approval is received. When approval is granted, students will enroll for the course directly through the institution at a discounted tuition rate, which may be paid for by students or the LEA. (See GYO Funding Opportunities for information on financing LEA-funded tuition for dual credit courses.)

When a course is first implemented, the institution will send a faculty member or program coordinator to the LEA school to conduct an announced course evaluation. The site visit serves as a quality check, to ensure the course is taught with the same quality, integrity, and rigor of the campus-delivered course. Typically, once a course is established in a LEA, site visit evaluations are conducted once every few years.

Articulation Agreements

Articulation agreements are formal contracts between institutions of higher education and P-12 schools, districts, and/or Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) sites. They are typically implemented when a P-12 institution would like to offer at the secondary level a series of courses from a college or university degree program. Students usually complete the course series throughout their junior and senior year of high school. Articulation agreements are important in outlining the benefits being offered to students as well as the roles and responsibilities of the institutions to ensure those benefits. (See GYO Overview: Dual Credit Education Courses & Articulation Agreements for more information.) Articulation agreements must include the following components1:

Prerequisite skills, knowledge, or coursework required for students to participate in the agreement. These are skills or knowledge students must obtain or coursework students must complete prior to accessing the benefits of the articulation agreement. Articulation agreements clearly identify which courses or program of study at the secondary institution that a student must successfully complete to utilize the articulation agreement. Examples:

  • Students from XYZ High School must receive a high school diploma, complete the XYZ high school early childhood program and achieve an 85 or higher average in each course included in the early childhood curriculum.
  • Students must meet all other college entrance requirements for the early childhood major.
  • Students must obtain a written recommendation from the secondary early childhood instructor.

Roles and responsibilities of each institution. The agreement should include information regarding the tasks and duties that need to be carried out by both the secondary and postsecondary institutions to fulfill the components of the articulation agreement. Example:

  • XYZ High school will ensure that all courses are taught by instructors who meet all applicable certification requirements. XYZ High School will follow the articulation agreement procedures and provide information regarding the college credit program to parents and students.

Duration of the agreement. Articulation agreements must specify the length of time the agreement will be in effect. For program approval, articulation agreements must be in effect for the duration of the approval period. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. When possible, it is recommended to obtain articulation agreements that are in effect for five years. Agreements with a duration of less than five years must include language indicating the possibility for renewal. Examples:

  • The effective date of this agreement is May 1, 2024 and will be reviewed for renewal five years after the signing by the participating parties.
  • This agreement will be in effect September 1, 2024 and will be reviewed annually for renewal.
  • This agreement will be in effect for the 2024-2029 school years.

Endorsement by officials of each institution. Articulation agreements must be signed by parties from each institution. Signatures must be dated and provide the title of the signatory.

The articulation agreement must directly relate to the program of study. The direct benefit(s) provided to students by the articulation agreement must allow students to continue their post-secondary studies in an occupational field related to a New York State Education Department (NYSED)-approved program. This direct benefit may include advanced standing, college credit, and/or reduced tuition. Example:

  • A postsecondary articulation agreement for an early childhood program must be in the area of early childhood.


1New York State Education Department, Career and Technical Education Office


Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is more comprehensive than an articulation agreement, which primarily focuses on college course offerings and transfer credit stipulations (See GYO Entry Points: Dual Credit Education Courses & Articulation Agreements for more information). An MOU, however, encapsulates the full scope of a partnership between two or more institutions and their individual responsibilities in carrying out a collective course of action in achieving shared goals. A working partnership agreement is grounded in the belief that mutually beneficial partnerships are central to high-quality teacher preparation. An MOU safeguards the continuity of a Grow Your Own (GYO) program by avoiding misunderstandings and miscommunications within a partnership.

Similar to an articulation agreement, an MOU formalizes a partnership by detailing and clarifying the following components:

  • The scope of the partnership as well as its shared purposes, goals, and comprehensive mission;
  • The expectations, priorities, roles, and responsibilities of each institution that enters into the MOU;
  • Definitions for key terms utilized throughout the MOU;
  • A stated commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI);
  • A plan for ongoing communication and meetings between partners, as well as professional learning for candidates, including descriptions of activities the partnership will engage in and the responsibility of each institution during those activities;
  • Detailed resource information including finances, time, and materials required of each institution;
  • A plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the program, including itemization and definition of the data that will be collected, shared, or protected;
  • The names, positions and offices, and contact information of the institutional parties who will oversee the implementation of the MOU; and
  • A timeline, including start dates and deadlines, and an expiration date for the MOU, if applicable.

The MOU should be a comprehensive description of how each partner will support candidates on their pathway into the education profession. As a reflection of their commitment to shared governance, partners should coordinate drafting an MOU together to ensure equal ownership of its structure and content, and to ensure that the shared, comprehensive mission is broader in its reach and scope than either partner’s mission. While there are MOU templates available online (see GYO Tools and Resources: Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for one example), partners are encouraged to format templates to suit their goals and needs.

The timing for implementing the MOU is dependent upon the partnership institutions and/or the scope of the GYO program. Some institutions prefer to have an MOU in place prior to any activity involving candidates. Other institutions prefer to draft an MOU when the scope of their partnership with other institutions expands. Either way, it is best to discuss an MOU early on in a partnership and revisit it regularly throughout the partnership. Below are some conversation starters institutions can utilize with their partners:

  • “Thank you again for meeting with us [this morning, yesterday, last week] to discuss partnering with our GYO program. To help facilitate implementing the activities we talked about, it would be great if we could draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) together. Do you have an MOU template you prefer? If not, we have one we can use to get started.”
  • “It was great to meet with you [this morning, yesterday, last week] and we are really excited to work with you in developing a GYO program for both of our districts. To formalize our partnership, we would like to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with you. Do you have an MOU template you prefer? If not, we have one we can use to get started.”
  • “It has been terrific working with you these past [few months, couple semesters, few years] and we’re looking forward to the next steps we talked about [this morning, yesterday, last week] to expand our partnership. To that end, it would be great to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) together that lays out our new goals and activities. Do you have an MOU template you prefer? If not, we have one we can use to get started.”

For more information on creating a partnership MOU, please see the New York State Education Department's Guidance for a Partnership Agreement.


The success of a Grow Your Own (GYO) program depends in large part on having candidates to support. While word of mouth can be helpful in attracting some candidates, recruitment should be an intentional, continual phase in the GYO process. Additionally, implementing multiple recruitment strategies as opposed to a singular approach could ensure a steady supply of candidates from various sources. Below are methods of Local Education Agency (LEA) outreach that can be utilized as recruitment strategies as well.

LEA Newsletters, Emails, and Social Media

Most LEAs send out regular newsletters and emails with announcements about upcoming events such as athletic and extracurricular activities, awards and recognitions, safety information, revisions to LEA policies, and other pertinent messages. LEAs have also leaned into social media to share announcements and updates with a greater number of community members. These modes of outreach could be excellent platforms for announcing new GYO programs and information for potential candidates to join the programs.


Surveys are great tools for LEAs to gather information on community needs and desires (e.g. technology access, opinions on newly implemented policies, etc.). LEAs could also create a survey that announces an intention to create a GYO program designed to meet potential candidates’ goals in education. Survey questions could ask community members if they are interested in pursuing certification, to describe their education and work experience, what their time availability and financial needs are, etc. Survey data could then be used for recruitment and program design.

Informational Meetings

A well-publicized informational meeting could be utilized in conjunction with the above methods. A LEA could create an informational GYO presentation and recruitment meeting that could be announced in LEA newsletters, emails, and social media. The LEA could also send out a survey prior to the informational meeting and use the feedback to create the presentation, and/or the LEA could send out a survey after the informational meeting and use the feedback to shape the GYO program.

Human Resources Notifications

To recruit current employees into GYO programs, a human resource department could reach out to personnel who would be a great fit for the LEA’s GYO programs, those who have previously expressed an interest in LEA advancement. Human resources could also notify certified personnel about the LEA’s GYO programs designed for additional certification or certification progression.

Strategies for Recruiting Current Students

There are a number of in-school methods for recruiting current students into early pipeline GYO programs. Because students have varied means for accessing school notifications, the more of the following recruitment strategies are utilized, the more candidates are likely to be recruited into GYO programs:

  • Morning and afternoon announcements
  • School media – newspaper, news channel
  • Hallway bulletin boards
  • Classroom bulletin boards/blackboards/whiteboards
  • Teachers’ announcements in class
  • Athletic and extracurricular coaches’ announcements at practice
Cohorts and Mentorship

Cohorts and Mentorship

Cohorts and mentorship are essential elements of Grow Your Own (GYO) programs (See Essential Elements of GYO Programs: Candidate Support). Cohorts experience GYO programs as a collective group, sharing courses and/or field requirements side-by-side, providing candidates opportunities to bond with peers professionally.1 Cohorts encourage productivity and enhance the overall academic experience. Within their group culture, candidates develop built-in empathy from shared experiences, and provide support to one another during regular cohort meetings and social gatherings. Cohort members often remain in close contact with one another, well beyond GYO program completion.1

To support the development of cohort groups, GYO programs are encouraged to schedule courses and regular meetings at times and locations that are most accessible to cohort members. This includes cohort introductory meetings at the start of the GYO program, celebrations upon program completion, and events along the way. This will provide cohorts the collective time and space needed to bond and support one another.

Cohorts alone, however, do not completely address educator diversity and shortages, which has been attributed in part to educators departing the field long before retirement.2 When educators leave the profession prematurely, students miss out on the impact of experienced educators, and educators miss out on opportunities to improve and find success.3 Research points to solid mentorship structures, in addition to cohorts, as solutions to improve educator longevity.3

Mentorship structures can be created during the design phase of the GYO Development Process. GYO program leaders are encouraged to explore the New York State Program Guidance and Standards for Mentoring, a requirement for teachers and leaders pursuing New York professional certification. GYO program leaders may also consider the following questions when designing a program mentorship structure:

  • Will the aim of the mentorship structure be developmental (social support), work-related (support in professionalism), subject-related (content knowledge and pedagogy), a combination of all three, or other goals?
  • Who will be the mentors and mentees? Will mentors be educators and staff from Local Education Agencies (LEA), Institutions of Higher Education (IHE), or will they be community members? Will candidates be mentors for each other within cohorts or across cohorts? Will there be different mentors for different aims?
  • How will mentors be selected? What selection criteria will be used?
  • How and when will mentors be trained? Who will provide the training? How often will training be required? How will mentors be evaluated for efficacy?
  • How will mentors and mentees be paired? Will the selections be made by the GYO program, the mentor, the mentee, or random assignment? Will selections be based on applications, interviews, lottery, or some other means?
  • How many mentees will be assigned to each mentor? How many mentors will be assigned to each mentee?
  • How frequently will the mentor and mentee meet (e.g., once a week, once a month), how long will the meetings last (e.g., half hour, one hour), and what will the duration of the mentorship be (e.g. one year, full program)?  
  • Are there expectations for mentorship meetings such as time sheets, meeting logs, goal setting, and reflective writing?
  • To what extent will technology and resources be available? Will meetings be in person or are virtual meetings encouraged? Will mentorship materials be provided (manuals, forms, electronic interfacing and programs etc.)?
  • What activities will the mentors and mentees engage in? Will they be limited to regular meetings, or will there be mentor and mentee observations and other fieldwork? Will they attend professional learning events together?
  • Will mentors be compensated, and if so, how will they be compensated (monetary compensation, time, etc.)?
  • What will be the guidelines, procedures, rules, and policies be for the mentorship structure?
  • What will the oversight be of the mentorship structure? What will the protocol be for negative circumstances? Who will take action to address concerns?

While cohorts and mentorship are essential components for all GYO programs, they are particularly critical for educator candidates of color. The decision to pursue a career in education is based in part on one’s experiences as a student. Research has found students of color have unfavorable views of their learning experiences and uncertainty about the satisfaction they could have as educators.4 Some educators of color enter the profession precisely because of these reasons and their drive to combat them.2 Additionally, trained GYO program mentors can identify students who have educator qualities and guide them to consider educator professions, connecting them with peers in GYO program cohorts.5

Recruiting candidates into GYO programs without the support of cohorts and mentorship can contribute to the continued departure of educators from the field, and for candidates of color, the continued disconnect between the growing diversity of students and the sustained lack of diversity in the educators who work with them.6 Candidates of color should be deliberately recruited into the educator pipeline with sustained support and encouragement.7

GYO programs with cohort and mentorship structures do more than recruit those who show an interest in the education field, they support candidates when they get there, too.5 Given the importance of self-efficacy, it is crucial for GYO cohorts and mentorship structures to be developed to build confidence and increase self-understanding in candidates.2 Candidate cohorts along with supportive, enduring mentorship in GYO programs can improve not only the educator pipeline, but educator attrition in the field as well.


1 Branyon, J. (2008). Using Mentoring and Cohort Collaboration: Enhancing Teacher Quality in Pre-service Teachers. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 74(3), 35–38.

2 Ingersoll, R. M., & Tran, H. (2023). Teacher Shortages and Turnover in Rural Schools in the US: An Organizational Analysis. Educational Administration Quarterly, 59(2), 396–431.

3 Lachlan-Haché, L., Kimmel, L., Krohn, C., Dolby, D., & Causey-Konaté, T. (2023). How Districts and States Are Addressing Teacher Turnover. Learning Professional, 44(1), 30–33.

4 Leech, N. L., Haug, C. A., & Bianco, M. (2019). Understanding Urban High School Students of Color Motivation to Teach: Validating the FIT-Choice Scale. Urban Education, 54(7), 957-983.

5 Mau, W.-C. J., & Mau, Y.-H. (2006). Factors Influencing High School Students to Persist in Aspirations of Teaching Careers. Journal of Career Development, 32(3), 234–249.

6 Goodwin, A. L. (2023). Enduring Problems, Rethinking Process, Fulfilling Promises: Reflections on the Continuing Shortage of Teachers of Color. Journal of Teacher Education, 74(2), 167–170.

7 Dixon, R., Griffin, A., & Teoh, M. (2019). If you listen, we will stay: Why teachers of color leave and how to disrupt teacher turnover. Washington, DC: The Education Trust & Teach Plus.