The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced it would invest $34.7M over three years to fund five new Teacher Preparation Transformation Centers located across the U.S. Texas Tech’s College of Education received $7M of that funding to create a national center aimed at reforming teacher preparation programs in the southern U.S.
The announcement marks the foundation’s first investment in its new teacher preparation initiative. The primary focus of the initiative is to support programs that:
- Give candidates authentic opportunities to build and refine their skills;
- Commit to continuous improvement and accountability;
- Ensure that those who prepare new teachers are effective; and
- Are shaped by K‒12 systems and the communities they serve.
The University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation (U.S.PREP) will be unique in that it will permit Texas Tech to collaborate with five other universities in neighboring states and one of the school districts they serve:
||Pre-K Partner School District
||Texas Tech University (Lead)
||Southern Methodist University
||University of Houston
|Baton Rouge, LA
||Southern Louisiana University
||Ascension/St. Charles Parishes
||Jackson State University
||Jackson Public Schools
||University of Memphis
||Shelby County Schools
The five transformation centers will each focus on a different teacher preparation model with the aim of seeing which programs provide the best results. For Texas Tech, this means focusing exclusively on transforming teacher prep practices in partnership with K‒12 school systems. All the centers will rely on a common set of indicators and outcomes.
The other centers are:
- Elevate Preparation, Impact Children (EPIC), led by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: Will work with the state’s teacher preparation providers to improve field-based experiences, support data-driven analysis, and integrate the efforts of providers and partners to meet the increasing demand for teachers.
- National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR): Will focus on transforming teacher preparation through the adoption and expansion of teacher residencies and clinically based programming.
- TeacherSquared, led by the Relay Graduate School of Education: Will work with innovative teacher prep programs to share knowledge, create communities of inquiry, define the skill sets of teachers, and analyze data from which the field can learn.
- TeachingWorks at the University of Michigan: Will offer direct professional support to staff members in other transformation centers, lead the development of practice-based assessments for novice teachers, and provide a digital resource center to share what is learned.