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February 2021

Delaware Collaborative
To date, the coalition members who comprise US PREP collectively prepare 5% of the country’s teachers.  In addition to the twenty-two universities that make-up US PREP’s coalition, US PREP has worked with many other external educator preparation programs and state departments across the country.  US PREP is proud to announce the launch of a state-wide collaborative with Red Clay and Colonial School Districts and five educator preparation programs (Delaware State University, University of Delaware, Wilmington University, and Relay Graduate School of Education), as well as the Delaware Department of Education, to design, pilot, codify, scale, and sustain an approach for recruiting, selecting, training, and retaining highly effective cooperating (mentor) teachers. 

“Collaboration around the identification and training of effective mentor teachers is a vital task that IHEs, LEAs, and state education departments must undertake to ensure future teachers enter the profession with the foundational skills necessary to develop children’s academic, social-emotional, and advocacy skills.  There are a variety of skills and strategies future educators learn from faculty in teacher preparation programs and from mentor teachers they partner with during field experiences.  However, it isn’t until faculty and in-service teachers come together to identify mentors with excellent pedagogical and engagement skills and train them to effectively mentor novices that we will move the needle toward improving academic outcomes for all children.” - Kristina Najera, DE Mentor Collaborative Participant and University of Delaware Faculty
To achieve the goals of the project, stakeholders across both districts and educator preparation programs dedicate time twice per month to attend collaboration sessions, review materials, and develop resources that will ‘raise the bar’ for those educators charged with mentoring teacher residents across the state. The collaborative is in the process of designing a “playbook” that will guide both educator preparation programs and district partners in successfully piloting, scaling, and sustaining a high-quality cooperating teacher program for all teacher candidates and districts in which candidates are placed across all seventeen districts in the state. 
"The DE Mentor Collaborative is important for future educators because we are setting the standards that will ensure that every yearlong teacher resident in the state of Delaware is supported and taught by a highly qualified mentor teacher.  This support will result in a stronger, more professionally satisfied teacher workforce which will decrease attrition and benefit the students of Delaware." 
- Stacie Zdrojewski, Red Clay School District
The collaborative has already solidified an aligned set of cooperating teacher dispositions, criteria, and selection processes. 
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