September 2018


Until a few years ago, Texas Tech’s College of Education operated as a traditional teacher preparation program. It provided theory-based coursework and placed student teachers in local classrooms for 6–12 weeks to meet state requirements. Candidates were sent to districts wherever volunteer mentors could be found, with little attention to the mentors’ skill or capacity. By and large, the program operated independently of the local districts it was training teachers to join. While Texas Tech was standing still, however, the world around it was changing. Texas had become a majority-minority state; in 2013, of the over five million public school students, 52% were Hispanic and 13% identified as Black or African American. The percentage of the state’s population that would obtain a post-secondary degree (38%) lagged behind the national average.

Starting in 2010, Texas Tech’s College of Education, implemented a new model of teacher preparation partnership that would attend to the Texas context and the needs of its districts. This new model was not funded by external grants and therefore, the leadership team had to be very intentional about scale and sustainability. Texas Tech developed carefully defined MOUs that would encourage deep sharing of data, and strategic tracking of outcomes to create accountability for Texas Tech to produce quality teacher graduates. With strong leadership at the helm, Texas Tech would begin to provide a refreshing answer for local districts. It started with creating a new administrative structure in the College of Education, strategically developing roles and responsibilities to implement this new vision.
The idea of teacher preparation-district partnership is not new; over the past ten years, many preparation programs and school districts have been loosely working together to place and train student teachers. However, these partnerships are often ill-defined, and vary greatly in purpose, format, and level of commitment by each partner. On the contrary, Texas Tech's relationship with school partners is now characterized by clear expectations, defined protocols, and an emphasis on producing quality teachers. Additionally, the TTU College of Education leadership team decided to take it one step further. Now, in several partner districts, Texas Tech has committed to fully supporting and building the capacity and resources of the district in a way that not only honors community diversity and need, but goes well beyond teacher preparation to provide essential supports for district success. From providing training for veteran teachers around district initiatives, to writing grants to fund district wraparound supports, to training up strong school leaders, Dean Ridley and his team are committed to the complete success of their partner districts. And it has the districts wowed.
"Bottom line: Our kids are benefiting from this partnership, and will continue to do so in 10 or 20 years and beyond.”

– Doyle Vogler, Assistant Superintendent of Lubbock ISD

Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa concurs, “Our relationship with Texas Tech is so valuable…we will always find a way to work with them.” Texas Tech University is preparing teachers in over 20 districts around the state, including Lubbock, Dallas, Grand Prairie, San Antonio and Houston, and demand continues to outstrip capacity; the College added four new district partners last summer alone. “The word is out about the work we are doing,” Dr. Ridley said. "And districts want in.”


Contact us for more details:
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