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The Austin Peay Experience podcast episode explores innovative teacher prep program

By: Brian Dunn October 16, 2023

New episodes air monthly during the academic year.

Austin Peay State University has released a new episode of its podcast, “The Austin Peay Experience,” highlighting the University’s groundbreaking Grow Your Own teacher preparation program.  

The latest episode features an in-depth interview with Dr. Prentice Chandler, dean of the Eriksson College of Education at Austin Peay. He discusses how the Grow Your Own program provides an affordable and accessible pathway for community members to become teachers in their own backyards.  

“Grow Your Own is getting tons of press these days in Clarksville and around the nation,” Chandler said. “Our program is a three-year bachelor’s program where students also work as educational assistants in schools full time with full pay and benefits.” 

The tuition-free program allows students to take courses while working in schools and learning from experienced mentor teachers. By recruiting aspiring teachers from local communities, Grow Your Own aims to increase teacher diversity and fill high-need positions in areas like special education and math.  

“The idea behind Grow Your Own is finding people in the community to teach our children,” Chandler said. 

In the interview, Chandler also emphasizes the critical role of partnerships with school districts in the program’s success. After launching in 2018, Grow Your Own became the nation’s first federally registered teaching apprenticeship program in January 2022. Around 80 students have graduated, providing Clarksville-area schools with qualified teachers committed to their communities. 

The podcast episode provides unique insights into this innovative teacher preparation program that is transforming education across Tennessee and beyond.  

“The Austin Peay Experience” is hosted by Grayson Nicholson, APSU’s digital content specialist, and produced by Sean McCully and Brian Dunn. New episodes air monthly during the academic year. The podcast is available on all major platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Podbean and YouTube.

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