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Ohio University to Partner With ESSCO to Create New Special Education Teacher Training Program

This article originally appeared on the Ohio University Ohio News website and is reprinted with permission.

Ohio University received the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant that will allow OHIO to partner with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (ESCCO) to improve the quality of OHIO’s special education teacher preparation program, which will improve the academic achievement of K-12 students.

The grant will span over five years, totaling more than $4.1 million to help accomplish this goal. It also provides opportunities for adult learners, supporting OHIO’s Strategic Framework and the initiative to catalyze strategic enrollment for lifelong learning.

“This partnership with ESCCO allows Ohio University to serve Ohio in preparing the next generation of teachers to work with all learners,” said Renée A. Middleton, dean of the Patton College of Education. “Our vision statement is ‘The Patton College—Where Learning Has No Limits!’ This partnership for teacher quality will allow us to fulfill that vision and commitment.”

The grant will allow for the development of a new partnership between OHIO and ESCCO that results in a redesigned teacher residency in OHIO’s special education preparation program for learners, and development of a two-year induction program for new special education teachers. The specific focus of the partnership is to look at training and mentoring special education teachers to deliver effective STEM and computer science teaching to students.

Over two-thirds of the projects funded through this grant are specifically designed to better prepare teachers for teaching STEM and computer science, while including innovative ideas. The TQP program was initiated with the purpose of improving student achievement, elevating the quality of teachers in the workforce by enhancing professional development, and recruiting highly qualified individuals to teach STEM and computer science.

The program also supports innovative teacher preparation models that prepare prospective and new teachers to serve students in high-need schools, while creating pathways that increase communication and collaboration between prospective special education teachers, expert special education mentors, and expert STEM mentors.

“This model of teacher preparation aligns with our program’s core values to provide co-taught, field-intensive, and interdisciplinary experiences to develop life-long learners who have strong skills in teaching students with diverse abilities and characteristics from an assets-based perspective,” said Jennifer Ottley, Project Director.

With these development outcomes, OHIO and ESCCO will train 104 prospective special education teachers who graduate from OHIO and attain their initial Ohio licensure for teaching K-12 students with moderate-to-intensive needs, and who obtain ESCCO micro credentials in the teaching of computer science. This redesigned training with OHIO and ESCCO’s new induction supports for program graduates are expected to decrease the attrition of special education teachers from the field, which has been a persistent challenge in the education of students with moderate-to-intensive needs.

“We are excited to partner with Ohio University to make a positive impact on the lives of our students,” said Tom Goodney, superintendent of ESCCO. “As educators and education administrators, we have an obligation to teach all students about the importance of STEM and computer science, and we know that by collaborating with Ohio University, educators will get the preparation they need to advance our students’ academic achievement in these areas.”

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