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Workforce Monitor: Reach University’s ‘Grow-Your-Own’ teacher prep shows promise

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Colleen Connolly of Workforce Monitor writes, "'Grow-your-own' teacher programs like Reach University can help fill the gap in teacher shortages, especially in rural areas and districts with a higher number of low-income students or students of color. Teachers that enter through programs like these may also be more likely to stay in the profession at the same school — a benefit to both the district and student community."

The article also features Megan Marcantel Thibodeaux, a recent Reach University B.A. graduate, who will move from a special education paraprofessional to qualified teacher in Louisiana's Allen Parish this fall.

"This program was more adaptable and more realistic for people with jobs, with children, with just busy lives,” said Marcantel Thibodeaux, who has a toddler and is also foster parenting a former student. “The instructors were really understanding about that. Some nights I would be cooking supper for my family with the laptop on the bar.”

After weathering two hurricanes, childbirth, and her house burning down during the program, "There were so many times I wanted to just give up,” she said. “I can remember reaching out to my instructors and student services and being like, ‘look, I don’t have it in me. Can y’all just extend some deadlines?’ If they wouldn’t have been so willing to help, I probably would’ve gotten discouraged and given up.”

Read the full story here.

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