Grow Your Own Teachers

Grow Your Own Teachers

The Grow Your Own Teachers (GYOT) Program provides financial assistance in the form of a forgivable loan to individuals selected to participate in the program. The purpose of providing this financial assistance is to allow program participants to complete their undergraduate degree in a high needs area of teacher education, with the ultimate goal of receiving their teacher certification and working as a teacher in the Blue Springs School District.

The GYOT Program is seeking applicants from seniors within the Blue Springs School District who plan to pursue a teaching degree. Components of the program include financial support, work experiences, mentor support and job placement upon successful completion of all requirements for teacher certification and criteria of the program. Applicants must submit a completed online application prior to the February 16, 2024 deadline in order to be considered.

The teaching profession is and will continue to be in shortage for the foreseeable future. The GYOT Program will raise awareness and assistance among Blue Springs students wanting to pursue a career in teaching. It will provide development and leadership opportunities for these students and also increase the number of quality teaching candidates for these hard-to-fill areas in the Blue Springs School District.

Current Shortage Areas
The GYOT committee will review high needs areas annually and base their decision on selection of participants on the State of Missouri’s “Shortage Area” and on the needs of the district. The areas may include but are not limited to: special education, science, math, English language arts, and applicants with a racially diverse background.

The GYOT Program provides participants with a comprehensive support system including, but not limited to, workshops on teaching/learning process, goal setting, study skills, communication skills, and professionalism. In addition, each GYOT participant will be assigned a mentor within the district. Participants are expected to attend and actively participate in all of the GYOT Program activities and complete their student teaching in the Blue Springs School District

The GYOT Program is funded by the Blue Springs Education Foundation. It is designed to provide significant financial assistance in the form of forgivable loans to program participants. Loans will pay for tuition fees, books, living expenses and other expenses incurred during college. The Foundation will pay $2,500 per semester (checks will be disbursed August 1 for the first semester and December 1 for the second semester) directly to the participant’s university. Students attending Metropolitan Community College through the A+ program will receive $500 per semester. Participants are required to supply proof of enrollment prior to payments being disbursed. The participant will then be responsible for paying tuition and other bills owed to the university. The participant must continue to qualify for the program (see Ongoing Academic and Personal Obligations of Program Participants) in order to receive loan money each semester.

Application Process, Deadline February 16
It is the direct responsibility of the applicant to make certain all components of the application are submitted on time and online as described below. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted. The 2023-2024 Grow Your Own Teacher application is ready to download and complete along with the  Scholarship Cover Sheet

Selection Process
Participants will be selected based upon selection criteria, application review, references from high school teachers, coaches and/or sponsors and interviews with the GYOT committee, BSSD administrators, and an Assistant Superintendent. Students will be eligible to apply at the start of their senior year in high school.

Teaching Obligation
Based on the signed Agreement and Statement of Commitment and Intent, participants are obligated to begin teaching full-time in the area of certification, with Blue Springs School District the first semester immediately following graduation or in the fall of the following school year, and continuing for a period of four years as agreed upon in the Statement of Commitment and Intent. Participants who choose not to return to teach in the Blue Springs School District, or who are not qualified to teach in the Blue Springs School District based on certification, eligibility requirements and on-going academic and personal obligations will be responsible for paying back the loan provided to them through the Blue Springs Education Foundation.

University Parameters
Participants must attend an accredited university, within a reasonable distance from Blue Springs and has been approved by the GYOT committee.

Eligibility for Acceptance into the Program:

  • Be a graduate of Blue Springs School District.

  • Meet the eligibility requirements for admission to selected participating university.

  • Have a high school GPA of 3.0 or better at the time of application.

  • Demonstrate good citizenship throughout high school.

  • Demonstrate an aptitude for entering teacher education through interviews with a committee, school administrators and an Assistant Superintendent.

  • Adequately complete Grow Your Own Teachers Program online application showing interest and qualities appropriate to program.

  • Demonstrate effective verbal and written communication skills.

  • Actively participate in all Grow Your Own Teachers Program activities.

  • Sign an Agreement and Statement of Commitment and Intent to teach full-time in the Blue Springs School District in his/her area of certification. The Grow Your Own Teachers committee will select the most qualified participants. In the event that a participant fulfills a portion of the teaching commitment, but not all of the commitment, the participant will be required to pay back a pro-rated amount.

  • Any unusual circumstances are subject to review by the GYOT committee.

Participants’ Ongoing Academic & Personal Obligations:

  • Be consecutively enrolled in at least twelve (12) credit hours per semester (fall and spring semesters) for up to eight* (8) semesters total, in an undergraduate program leading to teacher certification at one of the said colleges or universities. If an undergraduate degree is obtained in less than eight semesters, the loan funding may be used for graduate work in pursuit of a Master's Degree with enrollment in a minimum of six credit hours per semester. Financial assistance will cease after eight semesters. If the student graduates in less than 8 semesters and declines to enroll in graduate coursework, the student must still be employed as a teacher by the Blue Springs School District for four consecutive years in order for the GYOT loan to be forgiven.
    *If the student is unable to graduate in 4 years an additional one-year grace period will be granted. However, that one-year grace period will not include any scholarship funding. If the student is unable to graduate in five years the loan must be repaid in full
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and meet the requirements of the participating university.

  • Actively participate in all Grow Your Own Teachers program activities unless excused by the Grow Your Own Teachers committee.

  • Successfully pass the university requirements in the initial years in the program and remain in the education program at the university.

  • Successfully pass the MEGA Exam and other tests required for area of certification, and all other requirements for Missouri teacher certification.

  • Sign an annual Agreement and Statement of commitment and Intent.

  • Complete undergraduate degree in teaching.

  • Complete student teaching in the Blue Springs School District.

  • Receive university recommendation for teacher certification.

  • Receive positive recommendations from cooperating teachers, administrators and other professionals in the field.

  • Obtain teacher certification.

  • Meet all selection criteria used by Blue Springs School District for teachers.

  • Work full-time as a teacher for the required minimum length of time stated above, in area of licensure, in the Blue Springs School District.

  • Meet all employment requirements (criminal background checks, references, application procedure and other requirements as outlined by the district) for Blue Springs School District.

  • Maintain active Missouri teacher certification throughout agreed upon teaching obligation.

  • Any unusual circumstances are subject to review by the GYOT committee.

Citizenship Guidelines
Grow Your Own Teachers Program participants will be ineligible to begin or continue in the program if they do not display good citizenship. Any infractions, inappropriate use of social media or other items deemed to be unacceptable by the GYOT committee’s review will cause participants to lose their eligibility.

The Blue Springs Education Foundation and GYOT committee has sole discretion to terminate the program or the student’s continued participation at any time.