The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has announced the establishment of a new graduate school focused on teacher education and school leadership.
The Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning will work to transform teacher education and school leadership policy and practice by providing competency-based master's degree programs in both areas. In collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the academy also will serve as an incubator and innovation lab, studying what works and why in preparing teachers and education leaders, and offering new ideas and models to meet the needs of twenty-first century schools.
Working with MIT's Office of Digital Learning, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation will work to establish the WW Academy as the education equivalent of Bell Labs. Through controlled experiments of its own activities designed in collaboration with researchers supported by the newly launched MIT PK12 Initiative, the academy will serve as a laboratory for exploring what works in teacher and school leadership education. MIT Professor Eric Klopfer and Vijay Kumar, associate dean of Digital Learning at MIT, will lead the initiative's work to promote new technologies, develop new curricula, and conduct research related to educator preparation, with a focus on supporting pre-K-12 teachers in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.
The academy also announced that it has received initial support from a broad range of philanthropic organizations, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York; the Bill & Melinda Gates, Amgen, and Simons foundations; and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation board of trustees. The Amgen Foundation's support will underwrite the Amgen Biology Teacher Education Program, which will offer cutting-edge, competency-based teacher education for the life sciences at the secondary school level.
"Prospective educators enter the preparation process at different stages, with different sets of skills and abilities," said Woodrow Wilson Foundation president Arthur Levine. "With our competency-based model, by the time these students enter the job market, they and the schools that hire them can be confident they have the knowledge, skills, and experience to be successful teachers. Beyond this, the lab will study the student cohorts — tracking their time to completion, graduation rates, teaching performance and retention in the profession — with the goal of informing policy makers and practitioners about best practices."