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R.L. Richards, superintendent at Muleshoe ISD, has announced a recent grant from TEA to help the district “Grow Your Own” for aspiring teachers.
Due to a teacher shortage in the state and nation, the Texas Legislature and Texas Education Agency have joined forces with legislative funding to help schools.
“On Thursday, Jan. 3, Muleshoe ISD was awarded a TEA (Texas Education Agency) Grant to help GROW our own teachers,” Richards said.
The Grow Your Own Grant has been developed over a period of a year by Dani Heathington, Suzanne King, Cindy Bessire, Dr. Denver Crum from Spring Lake-Earth, and Texas Tech University.

Courtesy photo Instrumental in developing the Grow Your Own grant proposal were (left to right) Suzanne King, guidance counselor and CTE director, Muleshoe High School; Meg Ann Rennels, Muleshoe community member; and Dani Heathington, assistant superintendent, Muleshoe ISD.

The Muleshoe/Spring Lake-Earth Grow Your Own Grant will allow staff members or patrons with 60 hours of core credit classes to be eligible for candidacy to work through the summer with Texas Tech University, a Muleshoe site coordinator and the school districts to learn the science and art of great teaching.
Through the 2019-20 school year, the candidates will be working in classrooms to hone their teaching skills to a high level. By the summer of 2020, the candidate, upon passing the skills test and observation, will have a degree from Texas Tech and a Teaching Certificate from TEA.
Muleshoe and Spring Lake-Earth schools received this grant in partnership with Texas Tech University. A severe teacher shortage in both the state of Texas and the nation accelerated the need for an innovative program to develop qualified teacher candidates. The impact of the teacher shortage is even greater in rural districts such as Spring Lake-Earth and Muleshoe.
The goal of the program is to recruit, develop and maintain highly effective teachers. This grant was organized by the Texas Legislature and TEA to assist eligible teacher candidates to become strong teachers in an accelerated training program. The Muleshoe and Spring Lake Earth districts were the only school districts in Regions 16 and 17 to receive the Grow Your Own grant.
Grow Your Own candidates accepted into the program receive stipends for tuition assistance and access to a site coordinator and training support through Texas Tech University, a Tier 1 university.
Denver Crum, Spring Lake-Earth superintendent, said, “We appreciate both the legislature and TEA for creating and funding this innovative and needed program to assist rural schools in the recruitment and development of qualified teacher candidates.”
Representative Ken King responded, “Congratulations to Muleshoe ISD and Spring Lake-Earth on being awarded this grant. I have been passionate about expanding Grow Your Own programs for a long time, and I am very proud that school districts in House District 88 will be receiving funding for their own program.”
The award has two pathways for the Grow Your Own Grant:
1. Grow our Education and Training CTE Program — add Muleshoe High School classes to have a coherent sequence of future teacher classes
2. Implement dual credit courses in education and training through help from the colleges
3. Add a Texas Association of Future Educators Chapter (TAFE)
1. $5,000 to the MHS teacher ($10,000 if dual credit classes are offered)
2. $6,000 to MHS for implementation and training
Implementing a robust education and training program will encourage students to seek jobs in the education profession. Adding the dual credit will make their post-secondary coursework quicker, so that the schools’ “own” can start working for the district and become teachers in a more efficient and cheaper manner.
Form a partnership with Texas Tech University to allow MISD employees who do not have a teaching certificate a way to receive it.
Muleshoe and Springlake-Earth employees who have 60+ college hours will be able to keep their school district jobs and complete a one-year internship experience in order to complete Texas Tech’s Education Preparation Program. Also, patrons in the community are allowed to apply for these positions.
Candidates for these positions will apply for the position on the Muleshoe ISD website under employment on the link called “Grow Your Own Grant Teacher Applicant.” The applicant’s qualifications and transcripts will be reviewed for the 60 hours and a teacher skill set. A committee will review the qualifications and determine which candidates best fit the program. These candidates will receive a $5,000 stipend to help cover tuition, and $5,000 to help defray other costs.
The candidates will work with Texas Tech University and the Muleshoe Site Coordinator to complete the training and classroom experiences through a calendar year to become a graduate of Texas Tech and receive a teaching certificate from TEA.
If you have any questions about the grant please call Dr. R.L. Richards, Dani Heathington or Suzanne King at Muleshoe Schools, 272-7400.

Rhea Gonzales


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