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    Congressional Briefing Highlights Impact, Importance of TQP Grants

    Congressional briefing panelists (L–R) Jane Bray, Jennifer Robinson, Mario Santos, Lisa Fischman, Danielle Riley, and Qualyn McIntyre. Photo courtesy of Megan Shearin, Old Dominion University.

    A well-attended congressional briefing February 14 highlighted the positive impact of Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants in schools around the country, aiming to inspire lawmakers and staff to continue supporting the program as they reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) and determine appropriations for federal spending.

    In a packed Senate hearing room, the Valentine’s Day briefing presented testimony about how TQP grants have catalyzed improvements to educator preparation programs as well as to the schools and communities they serve. Dean Jane Bray of Old Dominion University (VA) served as moderator for the panel discussion.

    Jennifer Robinson, executive director of the Center of Pedagogy for TQP grant recipient Montclair State University (NJ), described how the funding has empowered her institution to develop deep partnerships with communities and schools. Principal Mario Santos of East Side High School in Newark, NJ, credited the grant and his school’s partnership with the Newark Montclair Urban Teacher Residency Program (NMUTR) for eliminating persistent teacher shortages, noting that prior to his school’s partnership with Montclair, one vacancy had gone unfilled for nearly three decades.

    Lisa Fischman, an alumna of NMUTR, and Danielle Riley, a current NMUTR resident, both spoke to how the program has empowered them as developing educators. Fischman said her preparation through the residency quickly allowed her to develop as a teacher leader in her school.

    Qualyn McIntyre, teacher development director for the Atlanta Public Schools (which partners with Georgia State University on a TQP grant), described how the university adapted its recruitment and selection process to ensure its teacher candidates can meet the district’s needs. As a result of the success of this partnership, other schools and some states have sought input from Atlanta Public Schools and Georgia State University as they refine and improve their educator preparation programs and create residency models.

    Each of the panelists stressed to the audience that the TQP grant program should continue to be authorized (during HEA reauthorization) and continue to receive funding through the congressional appropriations process. Briefing attendees received a variety of handouts from the programs represented on the panel (which can be accessed here).

    AACTE cosponsored the event in collaboration with the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Science Teachers Association, the STEM Education Coalition, and the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children.

    For more information about the TQP grant program, please visit AACTE’s website.

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    Zachary VanHouten

    Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE

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