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July 2021

Delaware Collaborative Pilots Cooperating Teacher Selection

A state-wide collaborative in Delaware is promoting higher quality matches between yearlong residents and effective cooperating teachers.  Red Clay and Colonial School Districts, alongside four educator preparation programs (Delaware State University, University of Delaware, Wilmington University, and Relay Graduate School of Education), and Rodel have worked to design, pilot, codify, scale, and sustain an approach for recruiting, selecting, training, and retaining highly effective cooperating (mentor) teachers. 

In the spring, Red Clay School District and the University of Delaware stepped forward to pilot the DE Collaborative’s three-part selection process for choosing high-quality Cooperating Teachers. Current K-12 educators who were interested in applying to be a Cooperating Teacher:

  1. Completed an application that measured their certification eligibility and leadership experience,
  2. Gained a principal recommendation, and
  3. Participated in a classroom observation to showcase their pedagogical content knowledge and instructional skills. 
The pilot is supporting the districts and educator preparation programs across the state with a model for selecting mentors and placing residents.  The learnings from this pilot will support the scaling of more effective practices for recruitment, selection, matching, and development of the core stakeholders for this critical period in a candidates’ development as an educator. “This [new] process was much more collaborative for the benefit of [the district and university] and our future students” shared Kristina Najera, DE Mentor Collaborative Participant and University of Delaware Faculty. University faculty and district representatives worked collaboratively throughout the selection process and met regularly to debrief the pilot and collect data to improve the process as it scaled up in the 2021/2022 academic year. 

This collaborative process will be refined and piloted again, then codified across both Red Clay and Colonial School districts. A commitment to improving teacher preparation in Delaware has already proven to influence others across the nation and we’re excited for the developments to come out of the ‘First State.’
For more details, contact
Sarah Beal
[email protected]
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