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December 2019

US PREP’s Newest Coalition Member, UT Permian Basin, Partners with Ector County ISD and Midland ISD for Innovative Teacher Preparation Residencies

ODESSA and MIDLAND, Texas— Two Texas districts—Ector County ISD and Midland ISD—will implement Opportunity Culture with paid teacher residencies in partnership with the University of Texas Permian Basin (UT Permian Basin). UT Permian Basin and its partner schools are the newest members in the University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation (US PREP).



Both Ector County and Midland ISDs struggle with an extreme teacher shortage. Combined, the districts began the school year with 500 teacher vacancies. The districts will implement Opportunity Culture, a model developed by Public Impact, to provide greater teacher support, give excellent teachers the chance to lead small teams for higher pay, and help attract and develop new teachers. Their work will be a model for districts and education preparation providers nationwide on how to approach strengthening teacher pipelines collaboratively through paid teacher residencies. 

As a member in US PREP, UT Permian Basin will spend the next three years piloting, scaling, and sustaining the Teacher Preparation Quality Objectives, which will result in the training of teachers who are ready to meet the needs of their K–12 students. Taken together with the Opportunity Culture model, candidates will receive compensation during their residency year. 

The national Opportunity Culture initiative extends the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within schools’ recurring budgets. Each Opportunity Culture school forms a design and implementation team of teachers and administrators that determines how to use Multi-Classroom Leadership and other roles to reach more of their students with excellent teaching. Ector County and Midland will meet jointly with Public Impact to plan and implement a cost-effective transition to the new model over the next two years.  

Ector County ISD, led by Superintendent Scott Muri, is located in Odessa, Texas. The district has 44 schools and 33,826 students, of whom about 77 percent are Hispanic, 16 percent are white, and 4 percent are African American; nearly 55 percent of the district’s students are economically disadvantaged.


Midland ISD, led by Superintendent Orlando Riddick, has 40 schools and 26,000 students, of whom about 64 percent are Hispanic, 24 percent are white, and 8 percent are African American; 45 percent of the district’s students are economically disadvantaged.

This work should encourage other district and education preparation providers to work together in a similar way, said Stephanie Dean, vice president for strategic policy advising at Public Impact. “Public Impact and US PREP commend these districts and higher education leaders for the vision they have to better serve students in the face of dramatic teacher vacancies,” Dean said. “They are committed to working together to build a strong teacher pipeline and are willing to think differently to make that a reality.”
 
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