Grow Your Own Teachers Illinois

Academic Level
Issue Area
Academic Program
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Development of Teachers


The mission of Grow Your Own Teachers Illinois, a community-based initiative, is to prepare highly effective teachers of color who plan to teach in the low-income communities they live in. The target populations are parents, paraprofessionals, and community leaders. Grow Your Own Teachers Illinois has three goals: 1) to develop a pipeline of teachers of color; 2) to reduce high rates of teacher turnover in low-income schools; and 3) to develop teachers who share the culture, language, and community of the students.

Program Description

There are 16 Grow Your Own Teachers Illinois consortia, 8 in Chicago, and 8 in other high need areas in Illinois. The cohorts of Grow Your Own Teachers Latino candidates featured in this nomination live and work in two diverse large Latino neighborhoods in Chicago and attend the College of Education at Northeastern Illinois University. The state assists with funding through supporting Grow Your Own Teachers Illinois with tuition assistance, tutoring, child care, and transportation. Funding also supports cohort coordinators who are academic liaisons with the College of Education and help support candidates become community leaders.


Grow Your Own Teachers Illinois serves 350 candidates statewide; 84% are people of color.

The two Logan Square cohorts serve 49 candidates, 46 of whom are Latino. The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) cohort serves 25 candidates, 21 of whom are Latino.

Statewide they have recruited over 100 Latinos who are becoming teachers. The candidates have an impressive average of 3.3 GPA in their major subjects.

16% of candidates are preparing to be bilingual teachers and another 21% are preparing to be special education teachers.

Latino teachers make up a very small percentage of the total number of teachers in Illinois, although their numbers have increased slightly (from 3% to 5%) in the past decade. During this same decade, the percentage of Grow Your Own Teachers Latino students increased from 14% to 20%.