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Bolivar Schools was one of 125 Missouri school districts to receive the first-ever state-funded "Grow Your Own" grants. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Fiscal Year 2024 budget includes $2.5 million to support one-time grants of $10,000 to LEAs to create or strengthen their local “Grow Your Own” program, designed to increase recruitment of quality teachers in LEAs across the state.

“Teachers remain the number one school-level factor that can impact student achievement,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “We appreciate the General Assembly recognizing the urgent need to address the educator workforce shortage here in Missouri and how important Grow Your Own programs are in solving this issue.”

Grow Your Own programs work to attract local students as well as non-certified school staff, such as paraprofessionals and substitute teachers, to the teaching profession. Many programs also support those future teachers through their post-secondary education and path to certification. Funding is used to support a variety of activities, including dual credit courses, scholarships for high school students, student internships, and opportunities for other non-teaching adults to pursue programs that will allow them to become certified teachers.

LEAs applied to DESE through a competitive grant application process. Grant funds must be obligated and reimbursement requested by May 31, 2024.