TeachOregon

Universities working with community colleges and school districts to redesign teacher preparation practices in Oregon

TeachOregon

By 2020 there will be at least 15,563 newly hired teachers in Oregon, which is about 30 percent of the workforce. With so many new teachers entering the system, Chalkboard launched TeachOregon in 2012 to improve the training of teacher candidates while increasing the diversity of the future teachers.

TeachOregon includes five project teams representing 13 districts and 11 higher education institutions, which together license 60 percent of the state’s new teachers. The initiative believes that new teachers will be better prepared the moment they step into their classroom if we focus on improving the following teacher preparation program practices

  1. Recruitment
  2. Clinical practice (student teaching)
  3. Mentoring
  4. Hiring strategies

How Does It Work?

University teacher-preparation programs, school districts, and community colleges collaboratively work together on real world solutions and strategies for preparing new teachers. While the project teams have unique approaches to their focus and timelines, there are three impacts that remain consistent throughout:

  1. School districts, community colleges, and universities work together to improve teacher preparation. This practice is breaking down organizational silos and encouraging unified priorities and practices.
  2. Honest conversations around the lack of culturally diverse teachers currently employed in Oregon as well as implementing new programs to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce.
  3. The focus on clinical practice (student teaching) and mentoring beginning teachers is providing teacher candidates with a well rounded classroom experience, one where they feel supported during their teacher training as well as during the first years of their teaching career.

What Are the Results?

  • 552 cooperating teachers trained in co-teaching strategies. Cooperating teachers are K-12 educators that are qualified to provide supervision, coaching, training and mentoring to teacher candidates.
  • 147 middle school students in Pro Team programs, 79% culturally diverse. The Pro Team program is designed to encourage talented middle school students to consider teaching as a profession.
  • 464 high school students, 62% culturally diverse, are enrolled as Teacher Cadets and Aspiring Teachers. These two programs encourage academically talented high school students to consider teaching as a career. Students that participate in these programs are given dual credits to apply toward high school and college.
  • 130 community college students in Teacher Pathway programs: 75% culturally diverse students.
  • 80+ scholarships awarded since 2014.
  • 1,079 beginning teachers receiving mentoring services through district or regional mentoring programs.
  • 200+ educators trained in equity and equitable hiring practices.

Project Sustainability

Chalkboard advocated for and worked with Oregon legislature to pass two pieces of legislation, based on the work of TeachOregon, that will have a direct impact on the readiness and quality of new teachers as they step into the classroom to teach our children.

  • Senate Bill 78 strengthens teacher preparation by requiring all of Oregon’s teacher preparation programs to become nationally accredited by 2022 and provides $200,000 to support programs as they become accredited.
  • Senate Bill 83 strengthens the student teaching experience by requiring training for cooperating teachers (the classroom teachers who guide and mentor teacher candidates).
Elias Villegas, Juan Larios, and Mateo Courtney from TeachOregon PAC