April 2020

University-School Partners across the US PREP Coalition Work Together to Meet Teacher Candidates' and PK-12 Student Needs

US PREP coalition member universities and school districts have not allowed the national COVID-19 circumstances to stifle their progress towards developing strong partnerships. In fact, this crisis has brought them even closer as they lean on one another for support. On April 2nd, US PREP worked alongside the NYC coalition partners - Lehman, Brooklyn, Touro, and the NYC DOE to identify ways in which teacher candidates and PK-12 students were receiving access to high-quality instruction and training. The Learning Series is a routine collaboration structure that has been in place for several years and US PREP providers were able to leverage this scheduled time to engage in problem-solving and innovative thinking, even as schools close and teacher preparation programs move coursework online. 

The collaboration began by breaking participants into virtual breakout groups in order to gain a better understanding of the current resources in which PK-12 students have access. A common platform most schools have been leveraging is Google Classroom. Principals articulated the benefits and drawbacks of the platform noting that it is a new tool for most of the teachers and, therefore, both students and educators alike are on a steep learning curve. Once principals and school district members shared, university faculty and leaders had an opportunity to brainstorm ways for candidates to support both teachers and students in successful implementation. Jacob Easely, Dean of the College of Education at Touro Graduate School asked the school leaders, “How can our teacher candidates support you [school leaders] and the instruction for our students?”  It was clear that our New York leaders see their top priority as meeting the needs of the students in their local communities. 

Similarly, on March 26th, one of US PREP’s newest coalition members, Texas A&M-Commerce, launched its first governance meeting. This routine structure is the foundation of the US PREP Teacher Preparation Model. This space fosters shared decision-making amongst the teacher preparation program and school district.  Dr. Juan Araujo, Assistant Department Head for Curriculum and Instruction at Texas A&M-Commerce attended the meeting and shared, “It is essential for universities to collaborate with school districts throughout the preparation of teachers to ensure that upon graduation, our students will be ready.”  This particular meeting focused on the planning of the transformed pilot residency program that is scheduled to launch in the fall.  Topics such as mentor teacher selection and training, teacher candidate performance assessments and the role of the site coordinator were all discussed. Dr. Dedra Collins, US PREP’s Senior Director of Content Development & Programming stated, “All stakeholders left feeling motivated and excited about the opportunities for teacher candidates and mentor teachers, as they all know that this work will have the largest impact on our students who have been historically underserved.”

To learn more about how US PREP is disrupting inequities in PK-12 districts and communities across the nation, visit www.usprepnationalcenter.com.
Contact us for more details:
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