June 29, 2023 -MDE Grow Your Own (GYO) Staff Program Grant

Ann Arbor Public Schools Offers Teachers Opportunity to Earn a Free Masters Degree Thanks to Michigan Department of Education Grant

The Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) commitment to providing high-quality education and support for English Learners is getting an exciting boost through a grant from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and a partnership with Western Michigan University (WMU). 

We are pleased to announce that the AAPS has been awarded a $5.9 million grant from the MDE through the Grow Your Own (GYO) Staff Program. Through a partnership with WMU, this initiative will offer 150 AAPS teachers the opportunity to earn a free Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). 

“The Ann Arbor Public Schools is widely known for  top-quality teachers who are deeply committed to serving our students. What a great day it is to now have the significant enhancement of this exciting grant opportunity that will enable us to support teachers in pursuing further development in the teaching profession through a graduate degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages,” shares Superintendent Jeanice Kerr Swift.   

Assistant Superintendent Teaching and Learning Dawn Linden says this marks an important milestone in the district's commitment to its framework for equitable instruction. “This grant award provides our dedicated AAPS staff with an incredible, free opportunity not only to earn a master's degree in English as a Second Language, but to learn and apply effective teaching strategies for all students, particularly our multilingual students,” Linden says. “This represents a significant step forward in our commitment to equity and excellence!”

Close to 2000 English Learners are enrolled in the AAPS, representing over 95 languages.

District English Language Coordinator Huda Harajli shares, "We would like to emphasize the significance of our partnership with Western Michigan University. The TESOL program at WMU is highly regarded and rigorous, ensuring our Ann Arbor teachers receive a top-notch graduate school education. We take immense pride in offering this incredible opportunity that will undoubtedly enhance our teachers' skills and profession, and ultimately benefit our English Learner students."

The GYO Staff Program is designed to combat the critical shortage of certified teachers, particularly in high-need subjects such as ESL education. With this grant, the AAPS, in collaboration with WMU, will focus on bolstering the education and training of teachers in ESL.

The first cohort of 50 teachers will begin their classes in Fall 2023.