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APSU Eriksson College of Education to host teacher shortage conference

education grow your own
Local teacher Malachi Johnson was one of APSU's first Grow Your Own graduates

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Austin Peay State University Eriksson College of Education is focused on finding new ways to address the need for licensed teachers in local and regional school districts. The college’s efforts, including the Grow Your Own initiative, garnered attention from White House officials in 2022. Next month, the College of Education will share successes and lessons from the past few years during the inaugural Virtual Conference on Teacher Shortage.

“With many school districts struggling to find qualified teachers, we have found the Grow Your Own model to be a new pipeline,” said Dr. Lisa Barron, APSU director of teacher education and partnerships. “Through this conference, we hope to present this model to school districts across the state and show them how they can partner with Austin Peay to train more teachers for their schools.”

The virtual conference, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Feb. 28, allows school district administrators and teachers across the state, as well as community colleges, to garner advice and engage in best practices from experts. While Austin Peay’s Grow Your Own program began with the surrounding five-county area, Barron said she receives calls weekly from school districts statewide seeking assistance on how to replicate the success originally sparked in a partnership between APSU and the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System.

“I saw the need to expand upon what we have learned to a wider audience,” Barron said. “We are ready and equipped to partner with interested school districts and community colleges across the state.”

Dr. Lisa Barron

Austin Peay’s Grow Your Own program launched in 2019, with the first degrees awarded in August 2022. The initiative is designed for recent high school graduates and college students to work as support staff in schools for three years while completing coursework toward a bachelor’s degree in teaching. Students complete the degree at no cost. The program expanded in 2022 when the U.S. Department of Labor approved APSU’s Teacher Residency program as the first registered apprenticeship of its kind.

Highlighted sessions for the conference include:

“We are very excited to have these key national and state partners to participate in this event,” said Dr. Prentice Chandler, dean of the Eriksson College of Education. “Our intention is to continue to equip dynamic teachers and work with school districts to better understand their needs and challenges.”

Register for the conference here. For more information about APSU’s Eriksson College of Education, visit www.apsu.edu/education.

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