Liz McCormick Published

New Program To Retain More Teachers In W.Va. On Track To Launch This Fall

Students with their hands up responding to their teacher

A new program on track to launch in fall 2022 could mitigate the growing teacher shortage in West Virginia.

“We believe that this will make a difference,” said Carla Warren, director of Educator Development and Support Services in the West Virginia Department of Education’s office of Teaching and Learning. “We believe that this can move the needle on the teacher shortage.”

Warren reported to the board of education in the fall that the state has at least 1,000 teacher vacancies in K-12 education.

At the West Virginia Board of Education’s monthly meeting Wednesday, members received an update on the state’s new “Grow Your Own” teaching pathway initiative.

The program was first announced in February with the launch of a newly revised website called

“Grow Your Own” is designed to provide innovative, low-cost pathways for high school students to enter the teaching profession.

Students looking to become teachers can begin their teaching journey early by earning credits and eventually classroom teaching experience before they graduate high school.

The program has grown to include 28 counties that will pilot the pathway this fall. Twelve higher education institutions have also signed on to provide credits.

“Starting this fall, we are piloting two core education courses: introduction to education and introduction to child development,” Warren said to board members. “This will be delivered in a dual credit format from the institution with the partnering county.”

Warren said in the second year of the pilot, two more core education courses will be rolled out: introduction to educational psychology and a course focused on social-emotional, mental wellbeing.

“The exciting thing about this model is that there are parameters that the board of education and the department of education have set, so all the counties are working within those parameters,” Warren said. “But then we’re also providing some flexibility and funding relief.”

Warren said seniors who need to take the Praxis Core test can have their fees paid for by the state, or they can receive an exemption if they score high enough on their SAT.

She also told the state board her dream is to see the program pay for a student’s college education if they would commit to staying in West Virginia as a teacher.