May 2019

A Changing University: University of Houston

When Robert McPherson was promoted to dean of the College of Education at UH in 2011, he set his focus on transforming teacher preparation through the integration of research and hands-on classroom experiences in order to achieve the college’s mission: to help eradicate inequities in education and health in Houston and beyond.  The transformed program would need to fully prepare teachers to step into the classroom on day one while having the ability to scale up to meet the needs across Texas, starting in their neighboring district, Houston ISD.

As the 7th largest school district in the country, Houston ISD represents over 214,000 students, and continues to grow in size and diversity each year. Serving the needs of so many is no small task. On the front line stands the K-12 classroom teacher who needs both subject matter expertise, classroom management skills, and an ever-expanding knowledge of how to address classroom and student realities.

This effort led UH to partner directly with Houston ISD to create a pipeline of excellent teachers and later join the US PREP coalition in 2015.  These partnerships have resulted in significant progress in coursework revision, implementation of a year-long residency program, and robust performance assessments for preservice teacher candidates.

By the end of spring 2019, the transformed program has grown to include 28 site coordinators placing student teachers in concentrated cohorts across 78 schools.  School administrators and University staff meet regularly to review data and refine the program accordingly. Dr. Amber Thompson, Associate Chair of Teacher Preparation at UH said, “It really is a true partnership; both sides are paying attention to making sure there’s a high-quality teacher in that classroom. That’s rather than us preparing them at the university all on our own, sending them out to districts and telling them to take it from there.”

Click here to read the full case study.

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