At the University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation National Center (U.S. PREP), hosted at Texas Tech University, our coalition for reformed teacher preparation begins with universities and partner school districts in six south and southeastern population centers. The universities include Texas Tech University, Southern Methodist University, University of Houston, Southeastern Louisiana University, Jackson State University, and University of Memphis. We’re among five Teacher Preparation Transformation Centers tasked by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with identifying best practices for preparing teachers to enter the classroom and improve student outcomes. Through this experience, U.S. PREP, along with our university and school partners, hopes to learn how to significantly improve the effectiveness of new teachers who are working with children of color and those living in poverty.
U.S. Prep will provide on-the-ground technical assistance to each of our six providers to create classroom-ready teachers and advance learning and innovation in teacher preparation. Each provider is committed to developing strong partnerships with school districts, implementing rigorous performance assessments to build students’ instructional competencies, using data to inform programmatic improvement, and ensuring that their teacher educators are effective.
A primary goal of the U.S. PREP National Center is to support each of the providers so that they are grounded in authentic school-university partnerships. When the university and K-12 systems are working together, we believe these partnerships become incubators of improvement. Imagine teacher preparation programming where school and university leaders come together regularly to discuss data, to tackle challenges, to celebrate and learn from successes, and to jointly shape future programming. U.S. PREP has already brought together superintendents and K-12 personnel from each of their six providers to develop a common understanding of the foundation’s grant objectives, as well as provide clarity about important district needs. Relationships with our K-12 districts will continue to deepen as we implement shared leadership among all providers and the districts they serve. We believe this type of partnership is critical to effectively training new teachers.