Grow Your Own Teachers

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SIU Grow Your Own Teachers

SIU Carbondale and a state-sponsored Grow Your Own Teachers grant (GYO) are seeking non-traditional students who desire to work in high-need teaching positions in Early Childhood, serving rural and minority communities throughout Illinois. The program strives to promote diversity, the wisdom of community, and the best education possible.

Select GYO candidates will receive financial, academic, and emotional support to assist them in earning their Professional Educator's License (PEL) in Early Childhood Education.

Grow Your Own teachers stand out for their subject mastery, classroom management skills, and expectations of excellence from their students.

About GYO Illinois

Grow Your Own Illinois is a 501c3 non-profit that advances the efforts of the GYO consortia to achieve equity, excellence and diversity in the new teacher pipeline and the teaching force.

To learn more about GYO, please contact us at

The Mission Of GYO Illinois Is To:

  • 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
Flowers outside of Pulliam Hall on SIU Campus

Impacts As A Result Of Meeting Our Goals:

  • Improving teacher retention in low-income schools (saving much needed resources and stabilizing the culture of schools)
  • Recruiting excellent teachers for hard-to-staff schools and hard-to-fill positions
  • Improving student achievement in high needs schools
  • Increasing teachers’ cultural competence and community connections

GYO Illinois 

Grow Your Own Teachers became law in 2004. Beginning in fiscal year 2007, state legislators began making annual appropriations in the state budget to support the program. The GYO statute outlines the parameters of the program detailing eligibility and requirements during and after the program. In FY2020, GYO IL was named the administrator of the state's GYO grant program. GYO IL now proudly provides grants to 5 locally-run programs across the state with approximately 250 teacher candidates. Learn more about GYO IL!