One of the key priorities for Missouri in its pandemic recovery efforts was to find ways to attract teachers into the profession and help retain high-quality educators. Using federal pandemic relief funding, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education created recruitment and retention grants for local education agencies, educator preparation programs and community colleges to implement and evaluate strategies such as grow your own and teacher mentorships. Establishing priorities is an essential part of the building focus and coordination element of the Coherence Lab Framework.
In this panel from CCSSO’s Legislative Conference in March 2023, Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven spoke about the impact of the grants and how they have increased connections and partnerships with regional hubs and universities. One example is the impact of Aspiring Educators, a grow-your-own initiative that recruits high school students to return to their community and teach after college. Aspiring Educators has cultivated partnerships with local colleges and created a peer-to-peer network for young educators. In addition, the grow-your-own initiative created opportunities for educators in the program across the state to collaborate quarterly and share recourses over an online platform.