KLAMATH FALLS — Klamath Community College is pleased to announce the college has received a $92,000 grant to recruit and train K-12 educators in Klamath and Lake counties.

This “Grow Your Own” grant was awarded by the Oregon Department of Education, on behalf of the Educator Advancement Council, and is intended to assist in diverse and rural teacher recruitment and retention in all subjects in elementary and secondary education.

The Grow Your Own grant proposal to develop a sustainable homegrown educator pipeline across Klamath and Lake counties was a joint effort by KCC, Klamath County School District, and Klamath Falls City Schools.

“Klamath Community College is very excited to receive this grant. There is a critical need for teachers in our rural community. This is a great opportunity to provide seed money to recruit, develop, and diversify our teaching pool with individuals that are connected to our schools and our community,” said Jamie Jennings, KCC vice president of Academic Affairs.

The Grow Your Own initiative is aimed at cultivating new teacher interest across a variety of audiences, platforms and demographics, including current high school students, para-educators/allied professionals, and members of the general community.

“This will be an effective short-term project with strong potential for long-term sustainability past the grant period, including transitioning KCC education graduates into established educational pathways with KCC’s four-year institutional partners, Southern Oregon University and Oregon Tech,” Jennings said.

KCC students who participate in the Grow Your Own program will be required to document 33 hours per term of observation in a lower elementary class and 33 hours in an upper class, preparing them to teach immediately after graduation.

“Recruiting, retaining, and developing our own qualified teachers is a major goal and concern of the Klamath County School District. A ‘grow your own’ partnership with Klamath Community College aligns with our district’s planning,” said Jeff Bullock, secondary curriculum director at Klamath County School District.

Through this initiative, KCC and K-12 partners will enhance high school dual credit courses that transfer seamlessly into the KCC education program, establish mentors to aid in student success, and create bilingual video resources to increase access to education for more audiences.

“This grant is an exciting opportunity for Klamath Falls City Schools and for the Basin community. The young people of the Klamath Basin deserve to have the very best teachers alongside them every day and this program will help us ensure that reality now and into the future,” said Daymond Monteith, director of school improvement for Klamath Falls City Schools.

Existing education program students at KCC who are on a track for program completion may also be eligible to receive a Grow Your Own scholarship. The $500 scholarship awards can be used toward tuition, fees, textbooks, college supplies.

To qualify, applicants must be a resident of Klamath or Lake counties and must enroll or be enrolled in the KCC Para-educator program during the winter, spring, and/or summer of 2021. Continuing college students must have a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative grade point average.

The deadline to apply for the Grow Your Own scholarship is Feb. 15. Applications can be found online at https://www.klamathcc.edu/gyo If you have questions about the scholarship or would like more information, contact KCC Education Program Lead Peggy Bullock at 541-880-2336 or bullock@klamathcc.edu.