Last week the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave away over $34 million in grants to teacher-preparation programs across the nation. These grants were given to 5 consortia from about 40 applications representing some 500 programs in all. The three year grants were given to create “transformation centers” based on the following criteria: developing strong partnerships with school districts; giving teacher-candidates opportunities to refine a specific set of teaching skills; using data for improvement and accountability; and ensuring that faculty and mentors are effective at guiding novices into the profession.
The 5 consortia programs are described below:
- TeacherSquared, a center that currently consists mainly of nontraditional preparation programs, including the campuses of the Relay Graduate School of Education; Urban Teachers (a client of Core Education), which operates programs in the District of Columbia and Baltimore; Boston-based Match Teacher Residency; and the teaching programs offered by the Yes Prep and Aspire charter-management organizations;
- Texas Tech University, which will head the University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation National Center, or U.S. PREP, a consortium of six universities located in Southern states;
- The Massachusetts Department of Education, which will lead the Elevate Preparation, Impact Children (EPIC) center, an effort that will involve all 71 providers in that state
- The National Center for Teacher Residencies, which will expand its network of providers using a residency model of preparation that couples a full year of student teaching with slimmed-down coursework; and
- TeachingWorks at the University of Michigan, which differs from the other four above in that it will serve as a clearinghouse for the others to share best practices, provide technical support to each center, and supply teacher performance assessments.
For a more details about these programs, see Gates Foundation Awards for Teacher-Prep.