August 9, 2013

THE CHALKBOARD PROJECT ANNOUNCES GRANTS TO PREPARE THE NEXT GENERATION OF OREGON TEACHERS

Portland – August 5, 2013 – After eight months of design work and the submission of robust proposals, the Chalkboard Project has chosen three TeachOregon partnerships to receive implementation grants to put their plans into action. TeachOregon, a new and widely watched model for improvement, was designed to bring together school districts and their community college and university partners to strengthen teacher preparation.

By 2020, Oregon schools will need to hire 16,400 teachers, a full third of the teacher workforce. The TeachOregon partnerships are planning to address this reality through close collaboration and strategies that create an effective and diverse group of teachers for Oregon schools.

The three partnerships that will receive implementation grants are:

  • Salem-Keizer School District in partnership with Western Oregon University, Willamette University and Corban University
    This partnership will build upon its collaboration at its demonstration school site and study schools and continue to create a consistent and high quality experience for teacher candidates in the district. The demonstration school was built with multiple classrooms with two-way mirrors to allow small groups of teacher candidates to watch and discuss what is happening in the classroom so they are able to connect theory and practice in live classroom situations. Teacher candidates work side by side with trained clinical teachers during their residency.
  • Springfield Public Schools and Lane Community College in partnership with Pacific University and University of Oregon
    This partnership will use a “grow your own” model to recruit promising high school students and persons who may be mid-career into the teaching profession. Springfield is prepared to offer personalized mentoring and financial incentives for these promising teacher candidates. The Springfield model will work closely with the community college and the high school programs.
  • David Douglas School District, North Clackamas School District and Portland Public Schools in partnership with Portland State University
    This partnership will develop a Bridge Program that provides support for diverse college students who plan to enter the teacher preparation program. The Bridge Program will also provide training to community college and university advisors and financial aid specialists.

Each partnership will receive up to $230,000 per year for three years. The Springfield partnership will receive $80,000 from Chalkboard in this first year to supplement the grant it received directly from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

The grant dollars will be used to continue collaboration between the school district and university partners and implement new practices and policies in four areas: recruitment and selection; clinical experience; hiring and placement; and mentoring and induction.

In order to submit a proposal, each TeachOregon partnership had to have the endorsement of the participating local teachers association, the school district administration, the dean of the college of education, and the university president.

“The attention on teacher preparation as of late has focused on the problems; the TeachOregon partnerships are creating solutions. The proposals from all of the partnerships included ideas that have the potential to revitalize the connections between teacher preparation programs and the needs of school districts in Oregon. We believe the three proposals receiving implementation funds will become examples for the rest of Oregon and the nation.” said Sue Hildick, Chalkboard Project President.

The three proposals chosen for implementation shared a number of strengths, including:

  • Lengthy clinical experiences for teacher candidates
  • Programs that work with students as young as middle school on a pathway to teaching and post-secondary work
  • District commitment to fund scholarships for district students to go into teacher preparation programs
  • Dual credit high school coursework in Introduction to Education courses (Portland and Salem)
  • Co-teaching models
  • Middle career recruitment, selection and hiring strategies
  • Systemic support for teacher candidates to pass entry and/or exit exams
  • Stipends for master or clinical teachers

These TeachOregon projects will also take part in an evaluation of their impact. In addition to the ultimate outcome of increased student achievement, partnerships expect to see a number of direct outcomes including a larger percentage of teacher candidates of color and higher retention of effective new teachers.

Randy Hitz, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University commented, “We’re very excited about this grant as it will help us move forward with our school district partners in creating mutually beneficial partnerships and better clinical experiences that will ultimately produce better outcomes for PK-12 students.”

“Through TeachOregon we are using our experience in supporting classroom teachers to help shape a high-quality experience for teacher candidates. It only makes sense that the school district, as the potential employer, have a significant role in the type of training candidates receive. We are looking forward to seeing the impact of this work on teachers and students in our district,” added Don Grotting, David Douglas School District Superintendent.

Chalkboard will also give grants of $25,000 each to two additional TeachOregon proposals. The Central Oregon partnership led by the Bend-La Pine School District and the “PAC-7” partnership led by the Tillamook School District will receive these smaller grants to continue their planning work.  Chalkboard will continue to seek other implementation funding opportunities for these partnerships. The Oregon Network of Quality Teaching and Learning created by House Bill 3233 includes funding for innovative models of teacher preparation and could become an implementation funding source.

Learn more about TeachOregon at http://chalkboardproject.org/teacher-preparation/