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GYO Overview

Grow Your Own (GYO) is an umbrella phrase to describe initiatives aimed at increasing or sustaining a community-driven teacher pipeline. GYO initiatives recruit, prepare, and support candidates on their path to teacher certification as candidates provide teaching services for and gain teaching experience in their community schools. Some GYO programs provide early exposure to the teaching profession (see Early Recruitment Pipelines below and GYO Entry Points: Early Recruitment Pipelines), early completion of teaching certification requirements (see Dual Credit Education Courses & Articulation Agreements below and GYO Entry Points: Dual Credit Education Courses & Articulation Agreements), and/or flexible teaching certification routes (see Multiple Certification Pathways below).

Early Recruitment Pipelines

Future Teachers of America (FTA) was created in the 1930s as an organization for high school and college students with career goals to be teachers. Since then, numerous early recruitment pipelines such as FTA or FEA (Future Educators of America) clubs have popped up in Local Education Agencies (LEAs) across the country, supporting young people who are interested in the field of education. In New York State, some of these organizations are Take a Look at Teaching (TALAT) clubs thanks to the TALAT grant offered by New York State United Teachers. (See Funding Opportunities: New York State Grants for more information.)

Early recruitment pipelines create space for members to learn about the social constructs of and current issues in education, as well as explore education as a profession and the multiple roles available for them to pursue. Through early recruitment club events and activities, club members meet numerous educators from the elementary to the graduate level and are provided opportunities to engage in hands-on teaching experiences that help them determine if education is a good career fit for them.

Early recruitment pipeline clubs are offered at the high school level, with some schools welcoming 7th and 8th graders as well. Clubs established in LEAs that serve diverse populations recruit underrepresented candidates into the teaching profession, where club members who ultimately become teachers can help to diversify their school’s teaching staff. Similarly, club members in rural schools, which often struggle to recruit educators, can help ensure a continuous supply of locally available educators. Evidence has shown that Grow Your Own (GYO) programs such as early recruitment pipelines can ease teacher staffing issues in rural areas by recruiting from within.1

Early recruitment pipelines offer several benefits to the LEAs in which they are implemented and the field of education as a whole, such as:

  • Elevate the narrative of the teaching profession, highlighting the benefits of being an educator;
  • Increase the overall number as well as the diversity of candidates entering the field of education;
  • Strengthen and expand community-LEA-college partnerships, increasing and improving the experiences, networking, and support available to candidates; and
  • Get candidates in the classroom door sooner, fortifying their interest in education early so they are more likely to continue in their educational careers.

For more information on early recruitment pipelines, please see GYO Entry Points: Early Recruitment Pipelines.


1Educational Equity for Rural Students: Out of the Pandemic, but Still Out of the Loop. A Five-Part Series. Part3: Thinking Broadly and Deeply about Rural Student Achievement and Teacher Pipelines. (2023). Center for Public Education, National School Boards Association. 

Dual Credit Education Courses and Articulation Agreements

Dual Credit Education Courses & Articulation Agreements

It can be beneficial for high school candidates who wish to get a head start on their education pathway to complete some college coursework while in high school. Opportunities to do so can be provided through dual credit courses and articulation agreements. (Please also see GYO Entry Points: Dual Credit Education Courses & Articulation Agreements for more information.)

Dual Credit Courses

Dual credit courses award students college credit that also counts toward their high school graduation requirements. For example, an Introduction to Education course is typically 3 college credits and, depending on the Local Education Agency (LEA), could also concurrently satisfy English 12 and/or Participation in Government high school graduation requirements. For each college course completed, high school students are earning dual credit in college and high school at the same time.

Dual credit courses have become a common practice in the U.S., offered by 88% of high schools and taken by 34% of students.1 Although the courses are college-level, they may be taught by teachers in their own classrooms, with the approval and oversight of the college or university that owns the college course. There have also been instances in which LEAs have designed college-level courses that were then sponsored by a college or university. To cover the cost of dual credit courses, some LEAs have included the cost of the reduced tuition rates in their annual budgets. In other LEAs, students pay the fees themselves with financial assistance provided to students in need. Please see Funding Opportunities for more information on funding dual credit courses.

Articulation Agreements

Articulation agreements are formal contracts between LEAs at the secondary level and institutions of higher education that outline educational benefits for students as well as the roles and responsibilities of the institutions to ensure those benefits. Articulation agreements can reference dual credit courses but primarily include much more comprehensive information such as program descriptions, prerequisites, institutional expectations, duration of the agreement, and endorsements. Typically, articulation agreements are implemented when a high school offers a college program course series to be completed over 1-2 years (e.g. Career and Technical Education (CTE) Early Childhood Education program).

Whereas credits earned from dual enrollment courses are awarded upon course completion and later accepted at certain colleges and universities as transfer credits, students who take articulation agreement courses are usually only awarded those college credits when they enroll in a degree program that the courses are associated with. That said, it is an enormous benefit for students to apply to a program and to have many credits for that program already completed.


1Educational Equity for Rural Students: Out of the Pandemic, but Still Out of the Loop. A Five-Part Series. Part 3: Thinking Broadly and Deeply about Rural Student Achievement and Teacher Pipelines. (2023). Center for Public Education, National School Boards Association.

Multiple Certifications Pathways

In New York State, there are three categories of educator preparation programs: 

  • Traditional Preparation Programs: Candidates begin with foundational coursework that increases in complexity as they complete some field experiences, often in the form of observations. Programs culminate in a student teaching experience that lasts around 14 weeks.
  • Alternative Preparation Programs: Aimed at second career professionals holding undergraduate or graduate degrees, alternative programs are offered by colleges with local school partners. They feature an accelerated introductory component, followed by paid employment, with extensive mentoring, coursework and other supports from the college and school district.
  • Residency/Apprenticeship Preparation Programs: Graduate level residency and apprenticeship programs offer candidates extended co-teaching experiences, often a full academic year or more, with coursework being completed during the co-teaching experience. Some programs require candidates to commit to teach for a stated period of time in their residency or apprenticeship school upon program completion.

While most educators obtain their certifications through traditional preparation programs, the percentage of educators that receive their certification through alternative or residency/apprenticeship programs is rising.1 In an effort to increase the diversity of the educator workforce, it’s important to note that educators of color seek out alternative or residency/apprenticeship preparation programs more frequently than they do traditional preparation programs.2

Candidates in alternative or residency/apprenticeship preparation programs are often transitioning between careers or advancing from one certification to another (e.g., teaching assistant to classroom teacher). Maintaining an income while completing certification requirements is essential to candidates in transition situations.2 Recognizing this, some alternative and residency/apprenticeship preparation programs provide financial incentives to candidates, such as stipends, benefits, tuition support or reimbursement, and/or a full-time salary.

Alternative and residency/apprenticeship preparation programs also tend to provide more hands-on experiences and do so earlier than traditional certification programs.2 This is especially true in urban residency programs. When residents are prepared in the context of urban Local Education Agencies (LEAs), they have been found to be better prepared to provide in-class solutions to learning barriers. For example, they are less likely to misidentify children of color, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and English Language Learners as requiring special education services or as exhibiting problem behaviors in the classroom.2


1Simieou, F., III, Miller, Q., Grace, J., & Decman, J. (2023). The Road Less Traveled: Why Black Males Choose Alternative Routes That Lead to Education. School Leadership Review, 17(2).

2Herman, K. (2023). What We Know Now: Urban Teacher Residency Models, Teacher Shortages, and Equity. Issues in Teacher Education, 32(1), 56–73.