NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s James I. Perkins College of Education has joined the University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation Coalition, a national organization dedicated to supporting educator preparation programs to meet the needs of future pre-K-12 students.
The US PREP Coalition is an organization of universities that provides resources and guidance to educator preparation programs to prepare teacher candidates to be classroom ready from the very first day of their careers. It helps teachers develop the content knowledge and competency to meet the needs of all K-12 students, especially those who have been historically underserved such as Black, Latino, Native American and/or economically disadvantaged students.
According to Dr. Jannah Nerren, chair of SFA’s Department of Education Studies, the US PREP Coalition will provide $300,000 in grant funds; travel funds for faculty and staff to attend professional development events conducted by US PREP over the next four years; the support of a regional transformation specialist and a clinical coach; access to materials and learning resources; and opportunities to collaborate with a coalition of educator preparation programs across the country.
“Embarking on this transformation process will entail a number of improvements, most notably moving to a yearlong clinical experience from what is currently a semester-long experience,” Nerren said. “It also will deepen the existing school district partnerships that are most effective in our collaborative preparation of preservice teachers.”
PCOE leadership and faculty members completed a rigorous selection process involving surveys, meetings with US PREP and interviews to demonstrate their commitment to transform their educator preparation programs and join the ranks of the other provider institutions in the coalition.
As a member of the coalition, PCOE will undergo a four-year transformation process to pilot, refine, scale and sustain the quality objectives across all pathways and programs. PCOE will also work with Lufkin Independent School District as its partner school district during its membership in US PREP. This partnership list will grow over the implementation process.
“As a new member of the coalition, we look forward to standing upon the shoulders of giants and joining collective efforts to equip the next generation of educators with the mindsets and tools necessary to provide a quality education to all K-12 students,” said Dr. Christina Sinclair, associate dean of assessment and accountability for PCOE.
According to Nerren, PCOE will begin with a one-year planning period, so program changes will begin to take effect in fall 2024. At that time, a cohort of teacher candidates will be selected to pilot the first group of yearlong teaching residents.
“Joining a coalition of like-minded educator preparation programs who are focusing on research-based field and clinical teaching experiences is a remarkable opportunity,” said Dr. Judy Abbott, dean of PCOE. “Partnering with public school professionals who are focused on developing teachers who engage children in meaningful learning is equally exciting. The US PREP Coalition is the catalyst for change at a local level as well as scaled change in higher education across the state of Texas and beyond.”
For more information about US PREP, visit usprepnationalcenter.com.