Blake Wood
Publish Date

The University of Illinois Springfield School of Education has been awarded a $145,000 grant from Grow Your Own Teachers (GYO) to develop a consortium aimed at addressing teacher shortages in central Illinois. The grant, titled “Future Ready Teaching: Thinking Critically, Acting Boldly and Inspiring Brilliance,” seeks to empower and cultivate a pipeline of skilled, critically minded and committed teachers.

Partnering institutions in the GYO grant consortium include UIS, Richland Community College, Springfield District 186, Decatur District 61, Decatur Public Schools Paraprofessional Union and the Springfield Urban League. Together, the organizations share a mission to foster educational equity and inspire lifelong learning among students, particularly in historically marginalized communities.

As part of the grant, beginning in fall semester 2024, the School of Education will use the GYO funds to award up to 15 forgivable loans worth $25,000 to UIS junior and senior teacher candidates who plan to teach in Springfield or Decatur for five years.

“Investing in education is investing in the future of our communities,” said Beth Hatt, director of the UIS School of Education. “This grant will not only help address critical teacher shortages but will also empower educators to make a lasting impact on the lives of students in central Illinois.”

To support participating students, the program will offer various wraparound services, including stipends to cover costs related to childcare, transportation, housing and meals. Additionally, candidates will have access to technology resources such as laptops and printing facilities. A summer bridge program will orient new students to the campus and program, helping them establish crucial networks and relationships within the School of Education.

The grant, developed collaboratively with consortium partners, was co-authored by Hatt, Pamela Hoff, a UIS distinguished professor of policy and equity, and Ryan Williams, assistant director of strategic initiatives for the UIS School of Education.

GYO is supported by an appropriation from the Illinois General Assembly to provide grant funds through a competitive process to prepare highly skilled, committed teachers who will teach in hard-to-staff schools.

UIS students can apply to the program starting in March. Interested students should email or call the UIS School of Education at 217-206-6306.