Together We'll Grow
Diversifying Tomorrow's Teachers Together
With the help of partner school districts, Indiana University Southeast has created a pipeline program for recruiting underrepresented high school students in all areas of diversity, including ethnicity, race and socioeconomic status in preparation for teaching careers. "Together We’ll Grow" is an outreach program with the primary focus of addressing the persistent under-enrollment of minority students in teacher education programs and the shortage of minority teachers in Southern Indiana P-12 schools. School leaders around the country are trying to find solutions to the critical shortage of minority educators that persist in their districts by addressing the following:
- How can we create a culturally diverse teacher workforce in our school district?
- How can we better prepare high school students from low-income communities and first generation students to be college ready?
Teacher Cadets in the “Together We’ll Grow” program will be given the tools, skills and support to aid in their success toward a teacher education career. This support is on-going but intensified during the summer bridge program.
Together We'll Grow is fostered by these 3 Cs— “Commitment,” “Comprehensive intervention” and “Closing the loop.”
How the program started
Together We’ll Grow is an innovative approach to increase college and career readiness of high school students and address the shortage of minority teachers in Southern Indiana. Launched in 2016, IU Southeast “Together We’ll Grow” (TWG) started as a research project by a faculty member in the School of Education to investigate ways to address the persistent underrepresentation of minority teachers in Southern Indiana. However, it evolved into an innovative pipeline program that engages School of Education stakeholders on and off campus in activities that prepare high school students from diverse backgrounds for college and a future career in education. Typically, high school students interested in teaching are enrolled in a teacher cadet program that has no direct link to a 4-year institution, does not provide mentoring and offers no opportunity to take college classes in Education.
Most often, these students end up not going to a four year college or enter into the teaching profession. TWG is directly linked to IU Southeast and its Educator Preparation Program (EPP). It provides mentoring, college readiness resources and opportunity for field based experiences while students are enrolled in a dual credit IU education course for free. Significant about this program is the bi-annual Teacher Education Day offered to provide hands on experiences for the high school students on career and college readiness skills. Each event introduces the students to the ethos of a four year campus, provides recourses on test preparation, college admission, career development and financial aid requirements. It also introduces them to key campus individuals including administrators and faculty.
- Program kick-off called “Teacher Spirit Day” is organized on site at the interested High School. This is a celebration of the teaching profession with faculty and staff from IU Southeast and the partner school. The program is introduced to interested students.
- The high school instructor of the Education course completes an Indiana University Advance College Project (APC) application and attends training at IU Bloomington to qualify for teaching the dual credit class
- Student selection begins with an aptitude survey Selected Teacher Cadet
- Students are enrolled in a 3-credit hour course, “Education Professions I and II,” and are eligible to receive dual credit through the IU Southeast School of Education. They are also formally enrolled in the Together We’ll Grow (TWG) program
- Together We’ll Grow students participate in “Teacher Education Day” at IU Southeast in preparation for acclimating to collegiate life. This academic year (2018-2019), funding for this event is provided by Indiana Kids Mentoring program and the Regional Economic Development -Innovate Indiana
- Mid-way through the class, a focused interview of the Together We’ll Grow students is conducted by faculty and staff members from IU Southeast on site at the high school
- A mentoring program for the Together We’ll Grow students is provided by IU Southeast School of Education students in the teacher education program.
- The Together We’ll Grow Students complete the college application process for IU Southeast
- Once committed to IU Southeast, the students will participate in a summer "Bridge Program" covering topics which include:
- Core Academic Skills Assessment (CASA) Test Readiness.
- Time Management
- Transitioning to College
- Virtual reality in the Classroom
- What to expect in your first year as an Education major
- Cultural and Linguistic diversity
Closing the loop
Students who complete the program and graduate with a degree in Education will return to the school districts, creating a more diverse teacher education workforce.
Program Update and impact 2017 - 2018
- Participating Schools grew from one School and School District in 2016 to six Schools and three School Districts in 2018. They are:
- Jeffersonville High School (Pilot School)
- New Washington High School and Charlestown High (Greater Clark County School Corporation)
- New Albany High School and Floyd Central (New Albany Floyd County School Corporation)
- Corydon Central High School (South Harrison County Schools)
- 54 high school students completed the Together We’ll Grow (TWG) program in 2017-2018, up 33% from the pilot in 2016-2017 academic year.
- In total, the high school students in 2017/18 earned 162 IU credit hours in an education course for free, saving parents about $49,960.80 in tuition and reducing student loan debts.
- The 54 participants, during their clinical experiences, worked in about 15 Elementary classrooms impacting the learning outcomes for over 1,100 students.
- 100 % of participants from the 2017/18 cohort will be attending college, about half (21 students) of which are admitted to IU Southeast as freshmen.
- The program provides training for the high school instructors teaching the education classes, making them dual-credit credentialed and enabling them to meet the requirement of the Indiana for Higher Learning Commission.
- For the first time since the program was established in 2016, a two day boot camp was organized in summer of 2018 (August 1st and 2nd) to serve as a bridge to college for the high school graduates admitted to IU Southeast.