Grow Our Own - Teacher Diversity Program

Marcos Cecenas, Early Childhood-Middle Childhood Teacher Candidate (UWL)

Mission and Program Overview


The goal of the Grow Our Own Teacher Diversity (GOO-TD) program is to increase the number of highly qualified and culturally diverse licensed teachers in the surrounding PK-12 school districts. 

Program Overview:

GOO-TD is a last dollar scholarship program where other grants and scholarships received will first be applied to the student account before the GOO-TD scholarship. However, in special circumstances, the student’s financial situation will be considered prior to using the last dollar approach. GOO-TD is not an alternative teacher certification program or a fast-track to certification. UWL classes are offered during traditional day-time hours with few online and evening classes. Due to grant funding guidelines, participants must meet all requirements for ongoing financial support. GOO-TD alumni are not qualified for the program once graduated.

Benefits for GOO-TD Participants: 

  • Potential full tuition and fees coverage.
  • Paid expenses associated with required benchmark assessments for licensure (up to two attempts).
  • One-on-one support from a program-specific advisor, the Sr. Equity Advisor/Recruiter, and the Academic Services Director/Teacher Certification Officer, in addition to other professionals and services as needed.
  • Built-in experiences for professional development and resume/vitae expansion opportunities.

New Applicants 

Eligibility Requirements (Complete ALL Steps):

  • Meet UWL academic requirements and complete application for admission to UWL (GOO-TD does not cover $50 application fee). Current active UWL students can by-pass this step if already enrolled at the institution.
  • Provide a statement (no longer than 3 pages, double-spaced) articulating the applicant’s commitment to teaching, diversity, and equity as well as including a program of certification and age group.
  • Provide two signed letters of recommendation.
  • If attended other institutions, include unofficial transcripts from all previous institutions (official transcript is required for UWL Admission).
  • Complete and file a current year’s FAFSA.

How to Apply: 

Failure to follow steps 1-3 will result in an incomplete application material submission. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Step 1: Complete the application for admission to UWL.

Be sure you:

Step 2: Send the following labeled documents in ONE EMAIL to Michelle Sylvester.

  • Use the email subject line: ATTN: GOO-TD New Student Application.
  • A STATEMENT (no longer than 3 pages, double-spaced) articulating the applicant’s commitment to teaching, diversity, and equity (include a program of interest and age group).
  • TWO LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION (must be signed and dated).
  • UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS from all previous institution(s) attended.

Step 3: Complete and file a current year’s FAFSA.

Application Screening:

Applications will be screened based on a holistic evaluation that includes the applicant’s academic credentials, letters of recommendation, and the ability to serve & support diverse populations in PK-12 schools. Financial status and current/past employment in a PK-12 school may also be considered. 

Upon UWL admission, candidates who wish to have their transcript(s) and prior PK-12 professional experience evaluated must submit a portfolio for review that includes documentation of relevant work/academic history to the Sr. Equity Advisor/Recruiter.

Current GOO-TD Participants 

Program Requirements for Ongoing Financial Support: 

  • Maintain a 2.85 GPA (cumulative and per semester).
  • Complete at least 12 credits of coursework towards academic program per academic year from the following terms: Summer, Spring, Fall, or Winter.
  • Attend established meetings with academic program and GOO-TD advisors.
  • Meet SOE program admission and UWL retention policies.
  • Display a positive attitude, work ethic, and professional demeanor in classes and field experiences.
  • Participate in program publicity, recruitment endeavors, and/or professional development opportunities

Students Who do Not Meet Program Requirements Each Semester:

  • Attend mandatory meetings with the Sr. Equity Advisor and/or SOE professionals to establish a “Plan for Success” and share plan with academic advisor(s).
  • Re-evaluate “Plan for Success” at the end of the semester with advisor(s).
  • Make academic/dispositional progress by end of semester or GOO-TD scholarship will be forfeited. If declared academically ineligible by UWL at the end of the term, the scholarship will automatically be forfeited.
  • Academic probation is a violation of not meeting program expectations - automatic forfeit of scholarship.

Dropping Classes After Due Dates:

  • Classes cannot be dropped after the established deadline to do so has passed.
  • If a student decides to drop classes or out of school after the deadline, the student will be responsible for their tuition payment during that particular semester.
  • If a student has an emergency situation that requires dropping of classes past the established deadline, then the student must contact the Sr. Equity Advisor/Recruiter for assistance in writing. Failure to communicate in a timely manner will result in the student being billed for the tuition.

Medical or Regular University Withdrawal; Course Incompletes; Leave of Absences from GOO-TD and UWL:

  • Send notice in writing to the Sr. Equity Advisor/Recruiter.
  • Work with the Sr. Equity Advisor and Student Life professionals to facilitate the process and discuss options.
  • Automatic forfeit of GOO-TD scholarship.
  • Student is responsible for the University withdrawal fee and other related fees involved with GOO-TD or UWL.
  • May reapply for future consideration if opening is available.

Completion Expectations: 

  • GOO-TD program completers are expected to make a good faith effort to procure employment in an area PK-12 school in Wisconsin.
  • GOO-TD program completers are expected to provide contact and employment information to the SOE and UWL alumni database.

Support for the GOO-TD Program

The GOO-TD program is supported in part with generous funding from the following sources:

Apply Now!

Applications are currently closed.

Please contact the School of Education Dean’s Office ( for information on the next application cycle.

Typical Application Timeline
Date Action
Late November/April UWL Application Deadline
Early December/May GOO-TD Application Deadline
Early December/May Committee Reviews Applications
Mid December/May Applicants Notified of Admissions Decisions
Late December/May Registration for Spring classes with Sr. Equity Recruiter/Advisor
February/September Classes Begin