Grant program is a win-win for teachers, students
The Texas Education Agency's Grow Your Own program is helping keep Midland ISD's talent pipeline local. The program is part of the TEA's Strategic Plan to develop high-quality educators by supplying grant scholarships for teachers wishing to further their education.
Thanks to Grow Your Own, five Midland ISD educators were able to pursue their master's degrees. One of them was Lauren Langston, a Lee High School math teacher who recently completed her master's in math from UTPB.
"This opportunity really came at the perfect time," said Langston. "It really drove me to not only continue my own education but finish in only two years."
The perks of the grant are two-fold: current MISD teachers receive a $10,000 grant to pursue a master's degree in an education-related field, and current high school students get the mentoring they need to pursue teaching careers.
"If we can help spark that interest at this age and put them on the track to becoming teachers, it benefits us as a district to have Midlanders stay and teach here," said Lee High School teacher Lilia Romero, who launched the educator curriculum at Lee through Grow Your Own after earning her master's degree.
As a result, both Midland High and Lee High School now offer extensive training and education programs. Midland even hosted last year's Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE) regional competition where more than 200 future educators competed for a spot in the state competition.
The classes are designed to support students by providing a clear pathway toward pursuing a career in education.
"This was a great step toward realizing the goal of creating home-grown teachers," said MISD Chief Transformation Officer Dr. Elise Kail. "The students who took these classes are now in college, with the goal being that they return and teach at MISD after graduation."