Grow Our Own - Teacher Diversity Program
School of Education, Professional & Continuing Education
The UWL Grow Our Own - Teacher Diversity (GOO-TD) Program is working to increase the number of qualified and culturally competent licensed teachers in area PK-12 school districts. In the past five years, the diversity of the student population in the La Crosse School District and surrounding communities has grown, and it continues to increase. However, the number of licensed teachers with diverse backgrounds in area schools does not reflect the student population. The GOO-TD program seeks to develop a highly qualified, multicultural teaching force by supporting community members who are committed to serving the diverse PK-12 school population. Qualified persons who wish to return to school to earn their bachelor’s degree and initial teaching license, and who are passionate about teaching and supporting our diverse student body are encouraged to apply. Non-certified school district employees are able earn their degree while continuing to work in schools. GOO-TD candidates may enroll full-time or part-time.
The GOO-TD program aims to support area school districts in hiring and retaining qualified and inspired teachers that are reflective of the diverse student population, with an ultimate goal of providing the best possible educational outcomes for all students.
GOO-TD Teacher Candidates receive:
- Coverage of the cost of tuition & fees towards program completion
- Coverage of the cost of required benchmark assessments for licensure (up to two attempts)
- One-on-one support/advising from an academic advisor specific to their teacher education program, the EPC Multicultural Advisor/Recruiter and the EPC Academic Services Director/Teacher Certification Officer
Become a GOO-TD Teacher Candidate!
STEP 1: Complete the application for admission to UWL. Be sure that you:
- Meet the academic requirements and
- Identify the teacher education licensure program that you wish to pursue
STEP 2: Send the following information to the School of Education office (please use the subject line: ATTN: GOO-TD Application)
- A statement articulating your commitment to teaching, diversity, and equity
- Two letters of recommendation (please have your references send these directly)
STEP 3: Complete and file a current year’s FAFSA
Application screening process:
- The GOO-TD Admissions Committee members will include:
- Applications will be screened based on a holistic evaluation that includes the applicant’s academic credentials, letters of recommendation, and ability to serve & support diverse populations in PK-12 schools. Other factors that may be considered include financial status and current/past employment in PK-12 settings.
- Upon admission to the GOO-TD program, candidates may request to have up to 6 credits of required teacher education program coursework waived based on demonstratation of their ability to meet the appropriate competencies. To be considered, GOO-TD candidates will work with their Program Director to submit a portfolio that includes documentation of relevant work/academic history. This portfolio will be reviewed by the GOO-TD Admissions Committee.
GOO-TD Teacher Candidates must meet the following requirements for ongoing financial support:
- Maintain a 2.75 GPA (cumulative and semester)*
- Complete at least 12 credits of coursework towards program completion per academic year*
- Have regular meetings with program and GOO-TD advisors
- Meet EPC/program admission and retention policies**
- Participate in program publicity/recruitment endeavors
Upon program completion:
- GOO-TD program completers are expected to make a good faith effort to procure employment in an area PK-12 school.
- GOO-TD program completers are expected to supply contact and employment information to the UWL alumni database.
** Admission to UWL as a GOO-TD teacher candidate does not guarentee admission to the teacher education program. All teacher candidates must apply for program admission, typically after completion of 24-40 credits of undergraduate coursework. See the appropriate program pages for complete details.
Hear from our GOO-TD Teacher Candidates:
Early Childhood-Middle Childhood Teacher Candidate (UWL)
& Teaching Assistant (Summit Elementary School)
In second grade, Kazoua Yang had someone who helped her connect in the classroom and made learning easier — her elementary school teacher. “She never made me feel like I was different, and she always expressed her appreciation for our culture.”
Kazoua realized in second grade the power of a good teacher. That’s the moment she knew she wanted to become one too. She earned a degree to become a teaching assistant at Western Technical College and was accepted into the UWL GOO-TD program last year. She found support from faculty in the program and staff at her school. They have given her the flexibility with her schedule and credits to achieve her education dream, as well as academic and financial support. While giving students new opportunities to reach goals, the program also fills larger societal goals of increasing teacher diversity. Yang sees this program as a way to fill that important need.
“As a teacher of color, I see how students of color can relate to me — especially the Hmong students. Their teacher says they never talk in class, but they talk to me in Hmong and they feel comfortable with me.”
Support for the GOO-TD Program
The GOO-TD program is supported in part with generous funding from the following sources: