Leaders from the Schenectady City School District, SUNY Schenectady, Cazenovia College, and Clarkson University have announced a new “Grow Your Own” pathway program for students in Schenectady City Schools who want to become teachers.

The program provides seamless educational access and opportunity for underserved and historically underrepresented students within Schenectady City Schools. Students can begin to explore their interest in a teaching career in elementary school, then have continual guidance to follow an academic pathway leading to teaching certification and degree programs, while receiving financial assistance, resources, mentoring, and support all along the way to that goal.

The program aims to increase the diversity of the district’s workforce by encouraging Schenectady students to learn about teaching careers and be guided on the educational steps to reach that professional goal. The idea is to interest students in the teaching profession through clubs and exploration in the early grades, then provide the guidance, resources, and opportunities to give students a jump start through the appropriate educational process to reach a teaching career. The ‘Grow Your Own’ program is designed to remove barriers and provide a clear path of support, with the end goal that Schenectady students return to the school district as educators.

The program is designed to begin awareness about teaching as a career option in third grade, where students have opportunities to learn about the profession and explore their interest. Schenectady middle schools have Teachers of Tomorrow clubs in place to help keep students engaged and interested in the profession. In high school, the program permits a jump-start on the needed educational path.

  • Students can take courses at SUNY Schenectady while concurrently completing high school course work. They can enroll in the Smart Transfer Early College High School Program (ST-ECHS) in 9th grade, allowing them to take college courses in 11th and 12th grades. By the end of high school, they will have achieved an associate degree.
  • An alternative pathway for high schoolers is to graduate high school then enroll in the Teacher Education Transfer program at SUNY Schenectady.
  • After completing the SUNY Schenectady associate degree, students transition to Cazenovia College to complete a bachelor’s degree and dual initial certification in Childhood Education and Teaching Students with Disabilities.
  • Qualified students who successfully complete their B.A. at Cazenovia College are offered automatic admission to the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Teaching Program at Clarkson University.

Students enrolled in the pathway will receive mentoring, coaching and financial assistance throughout the process.

“I am honored and grateful to be here today with our college partners to announce this incredible opportunity,” said Anibal Soler, Jr., Superintendent of the Schenectady City School District. “This is a perfect example of community partners coming together to provide access and opportunity to our students which serves to strengthen our schools and community.”

“We’re excited to be a member of the Grow Your Own partnership devoted to the important work of creating educational opportunities for underrepresented populations in the Schenectady City School District to pursue a career in education,” said Dr. Ron Chesbrough, Cazenovia College president.

The program is now underway.

Information about Cazenovia College’s Education: Inclusive Early Childhood and Education: Inclusive Elementary academic programs is available on the College website.