KOCO is a member of Grow Your Own Teacher (GYO). Grow Your Own Teacher is an innovative partnership of community organizations, higher education institutions, and school districts that support parents, community members, and paraprofessionals in low-income communities to become highly qualified teachers. One thousand teachers will be prepared by 2016 through this program.
GYO has set the following goals: create a pipeline of highly qualified teachers of color; improve teacher retention in low-income schools; recruit for hard-to-staff schools and hard-to-fill positions; and increase cultural competence and community connections of teachers.
Currently, KOCO is partnering with Malcolm X College and Northeastern University to provide the education for the teacher candidates. In addition to Chicago, Illinois, KOCO is also involved in GYO Illinois consortia in East St. Louis and Cairo, Illinois.