The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a three-year, $34.7 million commitment in support of five cooperatives that will develop, pilot, and scale teacher-preparation practices aimed at better preparing new teachers to improve student outcomes.
The Teacher Preparation Transformation Centers will bring together higher education institutions, teacher-preparation providers, and K-12 school systems to share data, knowledge, and best practices. Each center will test different approaches in unique contexts to better understand which practices are most effective.
One of the centers, Elevate Preparation, Impact Children (EPIC), which is led by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, will engage that state's initial teacher-preparation providers to improve the quality of field-based experiences and support data-driven analysis, while the Chicago-based National Center for Teacher Residencies will focus on adoption and expansion of residencies and clinically based programming. Teacher2, which is led by the Relay Graduate School of Education in New York City, will work with preparation programs nationwide to share knowledge, create communities of inquiry, define skill sets, and analyze data, while the University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation National Center at Texas Tech University will bring together six universities committed to transforming their practices in partnership with K-12 school systems. The fifth center, TeachingWorks, which is based at the University of Michigan, will offer direct professional support to the other cooperatives, lead the development of practice-based assessments for teachers, and disseminate learnings through a digital resource center.
The commitment is the foundation's first investment in its new teacher preparation strategy, which is focused on supporting programs that give candidates authentic opportunities to build and refine their skills; commit to continuous improvement and accountability; ensure that those who prepare new teachers are effective; and are shaped by K-12 systems and the communities they serve.
"We know that having an excellent teacher is critical to a student's success, but there is still much to learn about how to best prepare teacher-candidates to be successful in the classroom," said Vicki Phillips, director of the College Ready program at the foundation. "We're excited to fund these new Teacher Preparation Transformation Centers so that together, we can better understand which practices are the most effective in preparing new teachers.”