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Baldwin County School District Partners with Fort Valley State University for the "Grow Your Own" Teacher Program

In a continuous effort to address the teacher shortage in rural and middle Georgia, the Baldwin County School District is proud to announce the expansion of its innovative "Grow Your Own" Teacher Program through a new partnership with Fort Valley State University. This latest collaboration was formalized during a signing ceremony on Monday, April 15th.

The signing event, held at Fort Valley State University, marks another strategic alliance with a post-secondary institution to nurture a steady flow of qualified educators into the region. Fort Valley State University joins Middle Georgia State University, Georgia College & State University, and Central Georgia Technical College as the fourth post-secondary institution committed to this visionary initiative.

The "Grow Your Own" Teacher Program, provides high school students with early exposure to the teaching profession through a specialized Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) pathway. Students in the pathway will not only gain hands-on teaching experience but also have the opportunity to earn an associate's degree or college credits while still in high school. Upon completion, they will transfer seamlessly to any of the partner institutions to pursue their undergraduate degrees in education.

Dr. Noris Price, Superintendent of Baldwin County School District, expressed enthusiasm about the expansion: "By joining forces with Fort Valley State University, we are strengthening our commitment to developing a sustainable model for addressing the critical need for teachers in our community. This partnership will undoubtedly enhance our capacity to foster a robust pipeline of educators well-prepared to meet the challenges of modern classrooms."

The program also supports participants through paid work-based learning opportunities in Baldwin County schools, ensuring they are academically prepared for college coursework. Completing the program's requirements, including a background check and the GACE ethics test, makes candidates eligible for employment interviews with the school district.

In addition to programmatic support, the Baldwin County School District has received a $9,000 GaDOE Cultivating Teachers Grant to aid teacher professional development and recruitment efforts further. This grant underscores the significance of the "Grow Your Own" initiative in enhancing educational quality across the district while addressing the pressing teacher shortage.

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