A tablet and a cell phone with the words "press release" and "news" on them. Next to the devices sits a VBISD coffee  cup and a pen.


Van Buren County Schools Awarded $9.1 Million Grant for Teacher Development

May 25, 2023 – The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) today announced a grant award of $9,133,691 to the Van Buren Intermediate School District (VBISD) as part of the Future Proud Michigan Educator Grow Your Own (GYO) staff grants. This significant allocation is part of a larger initiative led by the State of Michigan, aimed at developing more teachers from within local school districts.

The GYO staff grants are designed to combat teacher shortages by supporting school employees in obtaining initial certification or additional endorsements. The grant will serve to substantially expand GYO programs across the state, ensuring every student has access to high-quality instruction.

VBISD, in collaboration with their local school districts, Western Michigan University and Grand Valley State University successfully applied for the GYO staff grant. The significant role of these collaborations in the application process speaks to the spirit of unity and commitment to improving education within our communities. As a result of this grant, about 200 future educators will be able to access funds for their professional development.

State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice expressed his enthusiasm about the program, stating, "Grow Your Own programs provide a pathway for school support staff to benefit from their successful experiences working with children, to become teachers, and to fill crucial staffing needs. We are excited that schools and districts across the state are collaborating significantly with our teacher preparation programs to increase access to this proud and important profession in support of children.”

Cheryl-Marie Manson, Director of Instructional Services at VBISD, played a crucial role in conceptualizing the grant application. As a first-generation college student herself, Manson brought a deep understanding of the challenges faced by individuals seeking to balance work with higher education. Over 380 teachers within Van Buren County have expressed interest in the grant, indicating a high demand and great potential impact of this initiative.

The next step for VBISD and the collaborating districts involves the careful review of applications and the selection of candidates for the program. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to attend either Western Michigan University or Grand Valley State University, further enriching the talent pool of the teaching profession in Michigan.


Press Contact: 
Dave and/or Cheryl-Marie Manson
dmanson@vbisd.org and cmanson@vbisd.org
269-330-6176 and 269-330-2668