With the goal of developing highly effective educators on a large scale, the U.S. Department of Education has awarded the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), in partnership with Texas Tech University and Arizona State University, two multimillion dollar Supporting Effective Educators Development (SEED) grants. Both grants target improved training of teachers and principals by strengthening clinical experiences and embedding more effective evaluation and support in educator preparation programs.
“After more than a decade of working directly with teachers already in schools to become highly effective educators, we are pleased to be expanding our work with institutions that train large numbers of new teachers,” said NIET President and CEO Dr. Gary Stark. “While these SEED initiatives directly impact more than 5,000 educators, their reach is far greater as they will help two of the most innovative teacher training programs in the country impact the next generation of teachers.” Beyond improving the pipeline of new teachers, the grants will provide induction support for first-year teachers and enhance professional development for all teachers in partnering districts.
The grant with Texas Tech University (TTU) will reach approximately 750 teachers and leaders in 18 TAP schools, as well as 90 new teacher candidates at TTU, thereby increasing the number of effective educators in high need schools across five Texas districts. The project, funded at $4.7 million for 2013-14, will enhance NIET’s traditional model for TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement by embedding TAP strategies into Texas Tech University’s teacher preparation curriculum and its certifications in Literacy/Writing, STEM and Leadership.
According to TTU College of Education Dean, Dr. Scott Ridley, “The combination of NIET’s proven impact on students and teachers in the field with TTU’s innovation and technology at the university preparation level will create a powerful new model for educator preparation and school reform in America.”
The second grant, with the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, will receive $2.7 million for 2013-14. The project will prepare 214 new teachers in the STEM fields over the next three years by implementing recruitment strategies designed to increase participants from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM. Additionally, the project will enhance professional development for more than 4,000 undergraduate teacher candidates and in-service teachers with a focus on improving the teaching of Common Core Writing Standards. Both teacher preparation and professional development will take place within the iTeachAZ model, which more than doubles the amount of time undergraduate teacher candidates spend in classrooms by providing increased clinical experiences in the junior year and a full year residency in the senior year. Teacher candidates in the undergraduate program will spend one full day per week in internships in the first year of the program and four days per week in the final year, greatly increasing their classroom experience. All coursework and clinical experiences take place in the school district, and the program follows the school district calendar rather than ASU’s academic calendar.
According to ASU Teachers College Dean Dr. Mari Koerner, “This project will continue to ensure that Arizona State University is preparing educators who are classroom ready on day one, as well as provide tailored, evidence-proven professional development to more than 4,000 teachers across Arizona.”
The national non-profits funded by the SEED program together received approximately $30 million for the six grants to improve student achievement by increasing the effectiveness of teachers and principals. Grantees include NIET and ASU, NIET and Texas Tech, Teach for America, WestEd, National Writing Project, and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the projects will enhance preparation of pre-service teachers, provide professional development to in-service teachers and leaders, and disseminate best practices, serving an estimated 27,000 teachers and principals, reaching a significant number of students across all 50 states.
"Effective teachers and principals play a central role in improving student achievement and producing better outcomes for children," said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, "These grants provide resources to support teachers and school leaders and develop the next generation of world-class educators."