Grow Your Own Illinois
820 W Jackson, Suite 330, Chicago, IL 60607
- Support the education and excellence of GYO teacher candidates and graduates;
- Advocate for policies that facilitate increasing the number of teachers of color; and
- Coordinate and align the work of innovative partnerships among universities, community colleges, school districts and community organizers that make up the GYO consortia across the state.
The priorities of GYO Illinois include:
- Creating a pipeline of highly qualified teachers of color (GYO defines highly qualified as pedagogical and subject matter content mastery and a high degree of cultural competence)
- Supporting GYO teachers once they are in the classroom
- Advocating to close the teacher-student diversity gap across Illinois
Working together, LSNA and Action Now created the Chicago Learning Campaign to bring together other community groups concerned about, and committed to, improving their community schools. The coalition’s goal became to institutionalize the Nueva Generación approach to teacher recruitment and training for low-income schools statewide. Grow Your Own Teachers was born.
In 2004, LSNA and Action Now formed a coalition with six other community organizations and wrote and successfully advocated for a state law, the Grow Your Own Teacher Education Act (the Act). The Act put the concepts of LSNA’s program into statute. The Act passed in 2005 and in 2006, the group won state funding for the Grow Your Own initiative with a $1.5 million planning grant. A year later, legislators allocated $3 million to launch the program and distribute grants to consortia of community groups, school districts and universities.
Once GYO was funded, the Chicago community-based organizations formed Grow Your Own Illinois (GYO IL), a nonprofit organization that was selected by the Illinois State Board of Education (the original state agency responsible for administering state funds) to develop the initiative statewide. When GYO IL finished its initial planning, there were 16 consortia, eight in Chicago and eight in other high-need Illinois communities.