Grow Your Own Teacher: LCPS receives grant

Published 8:00 am Thursday, May 18, 2023

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Just about every industry is facing employee shortages and the Commonwealth’s education system and Lunenburg Public School System (LCPS) is no different.

In an effort to combat the shortfall, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) developed the Virginia Grow Your Own Teacher Pilot Program.

Recently LCPS was awarded $7,500 as part of the Grow Your Own Teacher Pilot Program.

In total $365,000 each year from the Commonwealth’s general fund is designated for the Grow Your Own Teacher pilot program to provide grants to low-income high school graduates who attended an institution of higher education in the Commonwealth and subsequently teach in high-need public schools in the school divisions in which they graduated from high school.

The program provides a grant of $7,500 per academic year for up to four years for individuals who graduated from a public high school in the local school division; was eligible for free lunch during the individual attendance at a public high school in the local school division; and teach, within one year of graduating from an institution of higher education in the Commonwealth for a period of at least four years, at a public school at which at least 50 percent of students qualify for free lunch in the school division in which such individual graduated from high school.

According to VDOE, it was in the fall of 2021 when the Commonwealth began to see teacher shortages which the department said were impacted by COVID, but Virginia regularly faces significant teacher shortages every year.

Currently, the VDOE list Special education teachers as a critical shortage followed by Elementary Education PreK-6, Middle Education Grades 6-8, Career and Technical Education and Mathematics Grades 6-12.

According to VDOE, a “critical shortage” can be defined in two ways:

Shortages by subject matter as designated from the top ten academic disciplines identified in an annual survey of school divisions and a school personnel vacancy for which a school division receives three or fewer qualified candidates for a position.