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PVAMU Receives $300K Grant to Increase Educator Diversity in Texas

This article was originally published by Prairie View A&M University.

The teacher population in Texas does not reflect its student population. Beverly Sande, Ph.D., plans to change that statistic with $300,000 in funding from Texas Tech UniversityTexas Education Agency in collaboration with the University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation (US PREP) National Center. The award will position Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) to lead innovative efforts to increase diversity among the number of teachers.

Beverly Sande, Ph.D.

Sande serves as an assistant professor in PVAMU’s Whitlowe R. Green College of Education (WRGCOE), which has a legacy of producing some of the nation’s most distinguished teachers, counselors, principals, diagnosticians, and superintendents.

US PREP provides on-the-ground support and services to a coalition of university-based teacher preparation programs. Its mission aligns with the PVAMU WRGCOE to prepare candidates for public and private school positions.

Sande stated, “This award allows our department to work with US PREP as consultants in developing and redesigning quality curriculum and clinical experiences for our teacher candidates.”

With data collected from this grant, Sande and Co-Principal Investigators Douglas M. Butler, Ph.D., and Britine Perkins, Ed.D., will streamline some of the current practices in the WRGCOE, including teacher preparation and university-school partnerships. The team plans to enhance and grow partnerships with school districts to achieve the goal of diversity.

“We will use evidence-based strategies for sustaining genuine partnerships. This grant will support our efforts to sustain authentic partners while preparing quality diverse teachers for Texas schools,” said Sande.

Further, Sande’s goal is to improve educator quality and effectiveness by offering a performance-based, content-specific, and grade-band-specific educator certification assessment. The increase in rigor and relevance of the evaluation will improve the practices of curriculum and training that lead to educator quality and effectiveness.

The Division of Research and Innovation  (R&I) supports faculty in seeking grants to support their research agendas. In teacher education, these grants support improvement initiatives as well as research-specific areas.

PVAMU Vice President of Research Magesh Rajan, Ph.D., P.E., MBA, applauds Sande for partnering with Texas Tech University and the Texas Education Agency to enhance teacher training.

“Beverly Sande is leading in the areas of teacher professional development and training educators to be more inclusive in the classroom by being more culturally responsive in their teaching and offering behavior management strategies that improve the effectiveness of instruction. Through the U.S. Prep Coalition project, Sande will impact the lives of current teachers and future educators who innovative tactics to navigate in the classroom, especially following the pandemic challenges that surfaced during the virtually learning in school districts across the nation.”

Educators who have a more extended field and clinical experience as students remain in their profession longer.

“We are redesigning our clinical experience from one semester of clinical teaching to a yearlong residency program. This grant will support the PVAMU team in collaborating with other higher education institutions in developing high-quality teaching and learning experiences for our students,” said Sande.

Sande is thrilled about the opportunity to make a significant difference in educators’ preparedness.

“It is more about improving K-12 students’ outcomes, improving the quality of teachers we prepare, and the maintenance of authentic school-university partnerships. I am looking forward to gathering data attesting to all three areas’ improvement, enhancement, and sustenance”, said Sande.

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