We all want to have the very best teachers in every classroom. But the universities and colleges that educate teachers and the school districts that employ them haven’t always been on the same page.
That is starting to change, thanks to the work of TeachOregon.
The statewide initiative aims to raise the caliber of teacher education and training and diversify the workforce. The program is revamping recruitment, training, mentoring and hiring of teachers. The thread that ties everything together is a stronger working relationship between universities and districts.
“I hope the lasting impact is that districts and educator prep providers continue to work closely, and we create a system with opportunities for conversation and collaboration,” says Kristin Dixon, the dean of education and counseling at Corban University. “I believe this is a new paradigm.”
TeachOregon’s work runs the gamut, from cultivating aspiring teachers while they’re still in middle and high school, to ensuring teacher candidates get relevant classroom experience before entering the workforce, to improving the hiring and mentoring of new teachers to promote their success and retention.
Those working on the higher education side of the equation say TeachOregon is making a difference.
“There is a tendency among institutions to see things from their own perspective: universities are just looking at students in their programs, and districts are looking at who to hire,” says Kathy Campobasso, a TeachOregon coach. “Now we have a shared responsibility to improve teacher prep at every level.”
“TeachOregon is transformational because it impacts every phase of becoming a teacher,” says Kevin Carr, an education professor with Pacific University. “It works because it took on the whole system.” Carr believes the work aimed at diversifying the workforce is especially important, considering the state’s growing number of students of color: “It’s about making sure that kids from any background have adults who can look at them and see themselves and their own story, and can understand how to reach them.”
Launched in 2014, TeachOregon is just starting out, so new teachers are still in the pipeline. Five regional consortiums are currently piloting the efforts.
“I’d like to see the TeachOregon concept expanded statewide,” Campobasso says. “That’s the only way we will finally see a more diverse educator workforce, not only of candidates going through teacher preparation programs, but also staying in the profession and becoming leaders in the system.”
- Teacher Preparation
- Equity and Diversity