Collaboration Across State Lines Transforms Educator Preparation
In February, the Louisiana Department of Education hosted representatives from six states in the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP). Formed in 2013, this aligned action network brings together state chiefs and their education agency staff who are committed to activating key policy levers around licensure, program approval, and data as they transform educator preparation in their respective states. As a representative from the Missouri NTEP team, I joined colleagues from five states—Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Washington—on the visit to Baton Rouge to attend Louisiana’s Believe and Prepare Community Meeting and learn from the work of practitioners, programs, and districts across Louisiana leading efforts to improve educator preparation.
Launched in spring 2014, the Believe and Prepare Community is a network of innovative pilots supported with funds provided through NTEP. Through this program, half of Louisiana school systems and 19 of Louisiana’s 27 educator preparation providers have partnered to strengthen teacher preparation experiences and meet schools’ staffing needs. These pilot programs are working to grow the number of aspiring teachers in full-year residencies to 1,000 in the 2016-2017 school year and to build a statewide corps of more than 500 mentor teachers who will work with teachers preparing for certification. At the community meeting in February, the pilot programs led sessions highlighting best practices and lessons learned around using student outcome data to drive the development of apprentice teachers and the creation of collaborative structures that support both teacher preparation programs and local school systems.
As dean of the College of Education at Missouri State University (MSU), I find the Believe and Prepare network to be pertinent to both my state and my university. Several programs at MSU are exploring yearlong internship options. The MSU model enables interns (formerly known as student teachers) to begin working with master teachers (formerly known as cooperating teachers) in the summer to provide a coteaching experience from the start. MSU hires teachers in residence (formerly per course faculty) who are PK-12 district or building leaders to teach course competencies in partnership with university instructors. As our Internship Academy model expands over time, only the most talented PK-12 master teachers will work in partnership with the MSU College of Education. Interns will graduate with the understanding they must be learner ready from Day 1, and schools will focus their attention on hiring only those interns who have demonstrated proficiency in the classroom.
Since joining NTEP in 2015 alongside seven new states (California, Delaware, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah), Missouri’s team, MoTEP, has worked quickly to build on a vision shaped prior to our formal membership in the network. Our collaboration with states like Louisiana has allowed us to utilize the collective expertise and experience from beyond our team in supporting our efforts to ensure every teacher is prepared to positively impact student learning on Day 1. Our team looks forward to further opportunities to engage with other states and to develop models of work that will help inform the transformation of educator preparation around the country.
To learn more about Missouri’s NTEP work, contact me at DavidHough@missouristate.edu. To learn more about NTEP, visit its web page or contact Saroja Barnes, director of educator preparation initiatives at the Council of Chief State School Officers, at firstname.lastname@example.org.