New Partnership With Columbia In 'Grow Our Own Teachers' Program

Central Methodist University’s education graduates become quality classroom teachers, and the university has gained a new partner as a result of that quality.

Columbia Public Schools and Central Methodist University have signed a “Grow Our Own Teachers” agreement under which two top CPS students will attend Central Methodist and receive their teacher certification. Under the agreement, the graduate is promised a job in Columbia Public Schools and returns to the district to teach in CPS.

Central Methodist University President Roger Drake, along with Vice President Joe Parisi, will attend a ceremony May 10 at Battle High School, alongside CPS Superintendent Peter Stiepleman. They will introduce the first CPS student to attend CMU under the new program.

“This is great for young people, great for Central, and great for Columbia Public Schools,” said Drake. “This is an investment in mid-Missouri and helps Columbia keep its top talent.”

Drake said the partnership was “a natural fit since Fayette is so close to Columbia.”

Under the agreement, only first-generation college students are eligible to participate. Those selected by CPS will receive a full-tuition scholarship to Central Methodist. The participants must meet CMU admissions requirements and will be required to live on campus during their studies.

Grow Our Own Teachers, which is very successful across Missouri, offers a strategy for schools to achieve equity goals while addressing teacher shortages in critical areas. The program is also a big benefit to students because of scholarships and/or loan forgiveness and earlier field experiences and exposure.

The Grow Our Own Teacher Development Program provides mentors for the selected students throughout high school and their university education. The program includes the EdX Intern Program, where students in the program work with classroom teachers during summer school, receiving $10 an hour pay. The program is designed to increase the number of minority teachers in CPS classrooms from among its current minority students.

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