Examples of Formal and Informal Partnerships Between Institutions of Higher Education and School Districts to Improve Teacher Education
Note: The examples provided in this appendix are included to provide readers with an appreciation for the breadth and variety of current programs. These types of programs might serve as prototypes for the types of partnerships envisioned in this report (see Chapters 6 and 7). See URLs in text and in footnotes for further information.
Alverno College (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)1 is a four-year private liberal arts college whose teacher preparation program reflects recent research about how prospective teachers should be educated. The approach includes defining clearly what candidates for licensure need to know, understand, and be able to do as teachers. Alverno’s teacher education program supports a coherent curriculum, a supportive system of performance assessments, collaboration among the various faculty of the college, and multiple forms of partnerships with the urban school system of Milwaukee. Since the inception of the program in the late 1970s, Alverno has continued to seek to link the program components and create a teacher preparation program that is based on the scholarly literature for the profession, the experiences of the college’s faculty and students, and empirical studies. Tenets of the new teacher development program are based on what the faculty has come to call “assessment-as-learning.” The essential characteristics of this concept are
Candidates are aware of the expected outcomes;
Faculty provide continuous, careful, and productive feedback to candidates based on evidence that has been
collected about their performance;
Students engage in self-assessment;
Multiple measures and evidence of high performance by teacher candidates are required throughout the undergraduate curriculum.
These high expectations, in turn, cultivate communication across the disciplines at Alverno. The college also recognizes and supports this level of collaboration through its promotion and performance review systems.
In addition, Alverno has sought to bridge the gap between theory and practice by establishing partnerships with a number of schools in the Milwaukee public school system. At each partner school, Alverno students work with the K-12 staff and are guided by an Alverno faculty member. Students’ work in the partner schools does not focus exclusively on meeting their own needs but, rather, is guided, in part, by the needs of the Milwaukee public school system. Several middle and high schools, for example, are learning from Alverno faculty and students how to implement the assessment-as-learning model and are engaged in research studies of the implementation of the partnership programs in their schools. Alverno does not refer to its programs as Professional Development Schools. However, the overseers of these programs at Alverno believe that this approach to teacher education is having an impact similar to the impacts of other Professional Development Schools (Dietz, 1999; Zeichner, 2000).
Clark University-Worcester Public Schools (Worcester, Massachusetts)2
Clark University and the Worcester Public Schools have established a K-16 collaborative that uses a “rounds” model of professional development. The concept of “rounds” is based on the training model used in teaching hospitals. This partnership version of rounds engages small groups of school-based teachers, university teachers, and students involved with teacher education in learning together about specific aspects of teaching practice. Aspects include learning about how to implement a specific curriculum, understanding how children learn, and knowledge building in a particular context, or all of these domains of classroom activity at once. A round also might serve as a way to share and examine one’s teaching practice with colleagues. During student teaching, students typically take weekly turns conducting rounds. The
Additional information about this program is available at< www2.clarku.edu/departments/education/>.
rounds process gives them the collective confidence to engage their own students in learning (Del Prete, 1997). The rounds also reflect a shift toward more collaborative relationships, reflective dialogue, research, and study, and a process of open, active and continuous expansion of professional knowledge on the part of the entire community (Del Prete, 1997).
Houston Consortium (Houston, Texas)
To better prepare prospective urban teachers, a consortium of four universities (University of Houston, Texas Southern University, Houston Baptist University, and University of St. Thomas), three school districts, and two intermediate school agencies designed and implemented a Professional Development School program located in several Houston area K-12 schools. The consortium has been operating for more than five years and uses twelve mutually agreed upon characteristics to guide its work, including flexibility, cultural diversity, learner-centered instruction, technology, and authentic assessment. Recently reported research on the model indicates that 43 percent of the teacher participants believe that they now teach differently, and classroom observations confirm this. Achievement levels for both the preservice candidates and their students have increased as well (Houston et al., 1999). Data from this 1999 study indicates that the Professional Development School program preservice candidate teachers interacted with students more often than preservice candidates who were not in the program. They also spent significantly more time responding to student signals, checking student work, encouraging student self-management, praising student performance and behavior, and correcting student performance.
Kansas State University (Manhattan, Kansas)
Since 1989, Kansas State University’s College of Education has been engaged in partnerships with three local school districts, establishing Professional Development Schools in twelve elementary schools, four middle schools, and one high school. The Kansas State University (KSU) PDS Model is based on the belief that teacher preparation and school reform are the joint responsibility of institutions of higher education and school systems. All teachers and principals from the 17 PDS sites are now collaborative partners. The PDS and KSU faculty members are involved with all phases of the KSU teacher preparation program. At the building level, each PDS has identified at least one clinical instructor and KSU faculty member to
work with the building principal to coordinate the PDS activities and experiences. The goal is to create new roles for all PDS and KSU partners and to establish a joint community of learners. The program implements this goal by using teachers, administrators, and KSU faculty as co-planners, teachers, and evaluators of methods courses and field experiences; on-site PDS seminar leaders; and supervisors and mentors of practicing teachers. Teachers, administrators, and faculty also are jointly involved in school improvement efforts, curriculum development, program evaluation, professional development activities, and collaborative action research projects.
The project has published its results through a number of doctoral dissertations and other reports (see, for example, Shroyer et al., 1996). The project has created a climate of experimentation and risk taking that has helped build a joint culture of inquiry among PDS partners, whereby faculty and teachers constantly experiment with new ideas, evaluate teaching strategies, and revise their practices. Research indicates that this type of culture is a critical component of both successful professional development and educational improvement.
University of Massachusetts-Boston/Graham and Parks Alternative School (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
This group has been collaborating for the past five years on a professional development site. The Graham and Parks School (G&P) is diverse ethnically and racially. It has demonstrated a commitment to ongoing professional development of its staff and to involving parents in the school’s mission and activities. The school administration supports an innovative, reflective attitude towards teaching and learning. The University of Massachusetts at Boston (UMB) has long espoused a commitment to its urban setting. The campus attracts a diversity of teacher candidates who reflect the range of students in the cultural makeup of the K-8 school. These two institutions selected each other as partners because of these attributes and their commitment to improving teacher education and professional development.
Over the five years of the partnership’s existence, UMB has offered three on-site graduate seminars for teachers and staff, including the school principal, in which issues such as “effective teaching” and the “teaching and assessment of writing” have been evaluated. In addition to entering into graduate seminar dialogues on teaching and learning,
G&P teachers have served on overview committees for the development and revision of courses at UMB for students preparing to become elementary and middle school teachers. These committees bring together university faculty from science and mathematics departments, schools of education, and public school teachers and administrators to discuss ways to revise existing courses and design new courses in the UMB teacher preparation program.
Since the spring of 1996, six G&P teachers have been meeting monthly with UMB faculty to develop further teacher education programs for UMB students. Results include an on-site seminar at G&P, which is co-taught by the teachers and the on-site supervisor and which links the course and fieldwork. A G&P teacher teaches another on-site course on structured reading and special needs students. Teachers and UMB faculty also co-teach a yearlong internship program that requires UMB interns to document their growth as teachers through analysis of videotaped teaching sessions and creation of teaching portfolios.
University of Texas at Austin
In 1997, the University of Texas at Austin established UTeach,3 a program operated jointly by the College of Education (CE) and the College of Natural Resources (CNR). UTeach was designed to attract more students to science and mathematics teaching at the secondary level. The program introduces students to teaching with a one-hour course and then builds on that experience through a series of three-hour courses that culminate in a full-time commitment to teacher education. The program attracts more women and minorities than other teacher-education programs in the state of Texas and relies on close collaboration with and guidance from locally and nationally recognized master teachers. UTeach emphasizes collegiality by having entering cohorts of students work together on virtually all aspects of their education in teaching.
Students who complete the program earn a degree in science or mathematics (under the auspices of CNR) and teacher certification (through CE) at the end of four years. Students acquire initial teaching experience in public schools by giving presentations about science to elementary school children in the Austin area and then moving on to the middle- and high-school levels later in their coursework. UTeach was the first teacher preparation program in Texas to meet the state’s revised standards for certification.
Additional information about this program is available at <http://www.utexas.edu/cons/admin/publications/focus/spring99/teach.html>.
Wheelock College and Brookline Public Schools (Brookline, Massachusetts)
The Learning/Teaching Collaborative between Wheelock College and the Brookline Public Schools has been in existence since the 1980s. Like other Professional Development Schools, its stated purpose is the improvement of the preservice education of teachers and the enhancement of teaching. This collaborative was among the first to reinforce the ideas of teachers as “boundary spanners,” that is, teachers assume a variety of roles that usually are reserved either for grades K-12 or for higher education. For example, many teachers in the collaborative have become leaders in formulating class-room-based action research and have participated in the development of the statewide language arts curriculum framework, as well as developed new curricula. They have worked at the college level by presenting staff development workshops to both school and college faculty members. One of the collaborative’s most consistent tenets has been that all teachers must assume a leadership role and be active in the collaborative’s governance, making decisions about everything from budget to personnel.
The collaborative also introduced the concept of “Alternative Professional Time” (APT). In APT, year-long teaching interns assume responsibility for a classroom one day a week while regular teachers undertake research, improve courses, work in teams to restructure curriculum and improve school programs, and engage in college teaching and other endeavors that promote improved teaching.
Chief among the findings from evaluations of the collaborative is that teaching practices have changed significantly and involve more active learning. Also, the partnership has been found to be fragile, due to uncertainties about sustainable funding (Boles and Troen, 1997).
Not all teacher education reform is occurring through PDS models. This section briefly describes several other approaches to the preparation of teachers that contain elements of reform (such as those suggested in Raizen and Michelsohn, 1994). These elements include approaching teacher education more coherently through collaboration with school districts across grades (K-12), encouraging clinical experience collaboration among science, education, and school faculty, and creating smoother transitions for new teachers from their university experiences to first-time employment.
Colorado College (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Colorado College has long held that students’ depth of knowledge in the liberal arts is a significant part of teacher education and needs to be balanced with an equally strong emphasis on clinical preparation. In order to accomplish these two goals, the college has established several fifth-year Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree programs that lead to initial licensure in K-6 teaching and in secondary science or mathematics teaching. The fifth year design allows the college to recruit well-qualified candidates from a national pool of prospective teachers who have depth of content knowledge as well as initial experience in K-12 classrooms.
Using a 15-month design, elementary MAT candidates take education courses and engage in working with children their first summer, while secondary candidates take additional subject matter courses in science or mathematics. Both programs work with several local schools to identify appropriate placements that begin with the school year in late August for each cohort. In the first two months, candidates work half days as teachers’ aides at the school while completing two educational methods courses. They then complete 8-10 weeks of full-time student teaching. A full-time internship follows in the second semester, contingent upon demonstrated performance during student teaching and receipt from the state of a Letter of Authorization, which permits these candidates to teach on their own with limited supervision. Additional coursework in education is taken during the second summer, completing the candidate’s program.
Since 1997, faculty in the secondary science MAT program have used funds from the MacArthur Foundation (through the American Association for the Advancement of Science) to implement changes that link methods coursework, the student teaching/ internship, and the induction period of a candidate’s first year of teaching in local schools. Additional information about this program is available at <http://www.coloradocollege.edu/education>.
Georgia Southern University (Statesboro, Georgia)
Georgia Southern University’s middle grades science program is based extensively on team teaching and collaboration. The science methods course is team-taught by faculty in both the College of Education and the College of Science and Technology. In addition, the students in this course are blocked together in a mathematics methods course. Activities and field trips are planned and shared by both courses and
all instructors, providing a strong integration of content and pedagogy in both science and mathematics.
Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana)
Purdue University recently has revised its elementary teacher preparation program using a block schedule design (rather than a design where students take course independently of one another) and field placements in a selected “host school.” Students are in the field for six semesters, beginning in their sophomore year and extending through student teaching. Students in cohort groups take “blocks” of courses each semester while engaging in field experience at the host school. A team consisting of K-5 teacher liaisons from the schools, Purdue education faculty, and graduate students in education teaches the courses. The content of the program is guided by INTASC guidelines and emphasizes diversity training, application of technology, and the use of student portfolios. Additional information about this program is available at <http://www.soe.purdue.edu/volkmann/edci205/TiP.html>.
Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York)
Syracuse University employs a “cycle of excellence” model for preparing secondary science teachers. The “professional core” of this program is a three-semester sequence of coursework, numerous field experiences, and student teaching placements. One goal is to provide a set of integrated and coherent experiences that will continually strengthen the candidates’ professional development as science teachers. Each stage (semester) affords candidates opportunities to consider their current conception of effective science teaching and learning and to reflect on their growth and change as their ideas develop over time.
Candidates initially complete an entrance portfolio, in which they detail their emerging philosophy of teaching. When they take science methods during the second semester, candidates formalize their ideas about teaching and the decisions they will make in the classroom based on “best practices.” This includes writing an extensive research-based rationale for how they will teach science. In the final stage of the cycle, candidates then explore an element of their paper through collaborative action research with their host teacher during their semester of student teaching. Their action research frequently causes them to revise their rationale for teaching science, to implement new teaching strategies, and to change their teaching portfolios.
University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona)
The University of Arizona has designed a program, initially funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Eisenhower program, that specifically bridges the gap between teacher preparation and the first few years of teaching. The program supports beginning teachers in meeting once a month on Saturdays and also visits by a university science educator and teaching assistants five to six times the first year. School districts also support released time so that beginning teachers can observe each other’s teaching and participate in local science education conferences.
The university also has created a combined Master’s in Science Education and certification program with several unique features, including a yearlong student teaching experience, where candidates teach two classes each day. Half of the year is spent at the middle-school level and half at the high-school level. Practicum experience precedes this year of student teaching, and four core courses supplement and build upon the field experience: science methods, advanced science methods, history and philosophy of science, and how children learn science. The non-methods courses also enroll graduate teachers, allowing future teachers to work with experienced teachers on projects and course content. Candidates complete an exit project to demonstrate new knowledge in science education.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has reformed its middle/ secondary science teacher education program and has doubled the number of students to 35 per year, adding many post-baccalaureate candidates with prior experience in business and industry. Prior to reform, the program offered a number of traditional courses, but they were not part of a holistic program. Rather they were disparate, stand-alone entities, lacking articulation with other courses in the program. Over time, this caused gaps and redundancies in the candidate’s program. Today, highly coordinated courses and field experiences are delivered through a cohort of instructors as a result of the joint efforts of practicing teachers, education faculty, science faculty, and former students. The modified program now occupies three major blocks, with each block containing a core of field experience occurring at the middle- and high-school levels. There are reflective seminars and field experiences that are closely joined with coursework and with greater involvement by practicing teachers. A technology component is included. The program also has check-points and accountability.
Other Informal Partnerships: NSF’s Collaboratives for Excellence in Teacher Preparation (CETP)4
In the early 1990s, the National Science Foundation established the Collaboratives for Excellence in Teacher Preparation (CETP) program to encourage active reform of teacher preparation programs. The goals of CETP include increasing the numbers of K-12 teachers who are well prepared in science, mathematics, and technology and encouraging faculty from the arts, sciences, engineering, and education to work together on improving science and mathematics teacher preparation. The collaboratives seek to broaden the pool of students who are interested in pursuing careers in teaching, including those majoring in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology and those traditionally underrepresented in those fields. A feature of most collaboratives is the integral involvement of two-year community colleges as partners with four-year institutions and K-12 school districts. CETP also seeks to improve undergraduate teaching and learning and to link undergraduate preparation of teachers to national standards in science and mathematics. In addition, the CETP program recognizes the importance of retaining new teachers, mentoring of new teachers by master teachers, and providing all teachers of science, mathematics, and technology with opportunities for continuing professional development and growth.
Each CETP-based program represents a unique effort to improve the quality of teacher education in science and mathematics. It has been observed that the uniqueness of each collaborative allows each one to serve as a model that potentially could be scaled up to a much larger level (Boyer and Layman, 1998). There is a great deal to be learned from the characteristics and lessons of these collaboratives, both individually and collectively. Examples of programs that have some degree of CETP funding are provided below.
Green River Community College (Auburn, Washington) 5
Green River Community College has initiated Project TEACH (Teacher Education Alliance of Colleges and High Schools), a teacher preparation collaborative that demonstrates the role that community colleges can play in teacher preparation. The project in-
cludes recruitment and preparation programs in six local school districts and Central Washington University. A significant goal of Project TEACH is to strengthen science and mathematics education in elementary schools through new interdisciplinary, standards-based courses for future teachers that model interactive teaching and active learning. Together, the community college and the university faculty have designed a new Pre-Professional Associate of Arts Degree in Elementary Education that builds a strong foundation for the university’s certification program. The new two-year degree has the following components:
a strong liberal arts foundation;
introductory teacher education courses with embedded field-based assignments in diverse settings;
a three-quarter mathematics sequence specifically designed for elementary teachers (number theory, geometry, and probability/statistics) that includes embedded field-based assignments with mentor elementary teachers; and
a newly designed, three-quarter interdisciplinary and thematically-based science sequence that blends physics, geology, chemistry, and biology.
Other components of Project TEACH include (1) teacher clubs and recruitment activities in area high schools and at the community college; (2) tutoring at area schools and at a new, on-campus mathematics summer camp for fourth and fifth graders; (3) alternative pathways for teacher assistants and para-educators; and (4) strong advising links and articulation with the teacher preparation program at the university.
Project TEACH is funded by a grant from the NSF through the CETP initiative and by the Washington State Office of Public Instruction, the Green River College Foundation, and individual contributors.
Henry Ford Community College (Dearborn, Michigan) 6
Henry Ford Community College (HFCC) has designed Pre-Education Programs that articulate to teacher preparation programs at four-year institutions in the state. Motivated by the challenges presented by the Michigan Statewide Systemic Initiative, the HFCC programs are designed to (1) recruit students from underrepresented groups, (2) provide mathematics courses that implement the NCTM Standards and the Michigan
Additional information about this program is available at <http://www.hfcc.net/catalog/programs_de.htm#Education>.
Curriculum Frameworks, (3) provide programs that articulate to teacher training institutions, and (4) incorporate early field experiences for all students. In addition, special initiatives developed by HFCC in conjunction with the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Eastern Michigan University, and Schoolcraft College (and made possible by NSF and Eisenhower Grant funds) have resulted in the development of Mathematics for Elementary Teachers courses implementing the Triesman model as well as mentorship activities with teachers from urban districts, and university/community college team field experiences in urban and bilingual classrooms. These projects have strengthened the community college students’ experiences and provided a bridge from the community college to the university environments. Communities of mathematics educators and students from school districts, universities, and community colleges have formed. The success of the Pre-Education Programs at HFCC is partially documented by the programs’ dramatic increase in pre-education declared majors, from 354 students in 1994 to 1,054 in 1998, with a proportionate increase in students designating minority status.
Summarizing the success of the mathematics curriculum, one African American student stated, “I can honestly say that I enjoy math now, and I am looking forward to teaching it. I hope to be able to inspire someone else…. Thank you so very much!”
Cerritos College (Norwalk, California)7
Cerritos College recently began a partnership with California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), to launch the Cerritos College Teacher TRaining ACademy (Teacher TRAC). Teacher TRAC gives future K-8 teachers an opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degree and multi-subject teaching credential in four calendar years. Educational technology courses that help to enhance a K-8 teacher’s ability and technology-proficiency in the classroom are a special feature of Teacher TRAC. Cerritos College faculty members are partnering with CSULB faculty to ensure that national, state, and local standards as well as technology are infused in core content courses. In addition, pedagogical practices are being rethought in light of inquiry-based, hands-on instructional practices. Cerritos College recently received grant funds from the California Chancellor’s Office for a significant expansion of
Additional information about this program is available at <http://www.teachertrac.org>.
Teacher TRAC. Funds will be used to address the critical need for recruitment of high school and community college students into educational programs leading to K-8 teaching careers. The grant also focuses on student development, faculty development, curriculum design, and fieldwork experiences for students. Cerritos College also is a partner with CSULB in an NSF CETP grant and a U.S. Department of Education technology grant.
Virginia Community College System (Richmond, Virginia)8
Virginia’s community college system has launched a system-wide Teacher Preparation Initiative involving a faculty-in-residence position and a statewide Task Force with representatives from each of the Virginia higher education system’s 23 community colleges. The goal of the initiative is to create new pathways for students in the community college system who want to become teachers. A statewide colloquium for arts and sciences and college of education representatives from two- and four-year institutions produced policy recommendations for the community college system in the areas of recruitment, collaboration, curriculum and advising, articulation with four-year institutions, early field experiences, and Praxis I preparation. Next steps include focusing on implementation of the policy recommendations and replicating programs that have been successful in targeting and supporting prospective teachers enrolled in the state’s community colleges. Programs already identified as successful include specially designed orientation and career development courses, a teacher apprentice program, a baccalaureate transition program, and activities that stem from participation in the NSF-funded Virginia Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers (VCEPT).
Additional information about this program is available at <http://www.so.cc.va.us/vccsasr/teacher.pdf>.