Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, West Oso ISD partnership awarded $220,000

CORPUS CHRISTI, TexasTexas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s focus on preparing teachers for Texas public schools recently earned a $220,000 grant from the Texas Education Agency. The Grow Your Own Grant will support 10 prospective teachers at the Island University to specifically work for the West Oso Independent School District upon graduation and certification.

The Grow Your Own Grant provides a $15,000 grant for 10 Island University teacher candidates, along with funding to pay for certification testing, West Oso ISD on-campus training, and textbooks. The 10 graduates will then sign a memorandum of understanding to work at West Oso ISD for at least three years.

West Oso ISD was chosen based on its need in critical areas including math, science, Spanish, and bilingual education. Half of the A&M-Corpus Christi participants must be either Hispanic or African American to better reflect the diversity of West Oso’s student body.

“West Oso ISD’s interaction with A&M-Corpus Christi’s Grow Your Own Grant will enrich and encourage an incredibly supportive community, recruit and retain amazing and gifted teachers and most of all, educate our exceptional students,” said Conrado Garcia, Superintendent of West Oso ISD. “We have an opportunity to create environments where teachers will engage in new, creative, and cutting-edge ways to give our students the advantage as we prepare them to be Future Ready! We appreciate A&M-Corpus Christi’s faithful and ongoing support of our school community.”

The “Grow Your Own” Grant is supported by We Teach Texas, a Texas A&M University System-wide focus on recruiting and training the next generation of Texas classroom teachers.

“A&M-Corpus Christi’s Educator Prep Program understands that effective clinical partnerships and high-quality clinical practice are at the heart of teacher preparation,” said Dr. Carmen Tejeda-Delgado, School and University Partnerships Field Experiences Director and Principal Investigator of the A&M-Corpus Christi Grow Your Own Grant. “This partnership is poised to produce mutually beneficial outcomes for all – it will help us continue supporting teachers who have the skill set and dispositions integral to making a positive impact on PK-12 learning and we are excited for our students to practice in a dynamic landscape.”

The 11 universities of A&M System produce more fully-certified teachers than any other university system in Texas and have the highest number of teachers remaining in the profession for the first five years of their career.

“We teach Texas, and we are honored the Texas Education Agency thinks our innovative efforts at The Texas A&M University System are worth investing in,” said John Sharp, A&M System Chancellor.

TEA’s Grow Your Own initiative comes as a direct recommendation from Commissioner of Education Mike Morath’s Texas Rural Schools Task Force, whose members identified this priority issue and presented a strong recommendation to address it. Thirty-six applicants, representing school districts and educator prep programs from around the state, were awarded during cycle 2 (2019-2021) of the Grow Your Own Grant program.