Sep 24, 2014

Participants Call for Training Programs, School Systems to Identify Future Teacher Needs Together

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Education today released the results of a survey of more than 6,000 educators, indicating the need for future teachers to spend significantly more time in classrooms, under the guidance of outstanding, experienced educators prior to employment in the state’s public and nonpublic schools. The survey, titled
Partners in Preparation: A Survey of Educators and Education Preparation Programs, also found that few school systems and teacher preparation programs collaborate regularly to identify the future employment needs of schools or to determine whether individual graduating candidates are ready for the job.

The survey, designed to provide a fact base for strengthening educator preparation statewide, found that half of teachers say they were not fully prepared for the realities of a classroom and about a third of district personnel/principals agree. The survey also found more than half of preparation program faculty members surveyed say there are not enough classrooms available for student teachers and just over a third say they do not have enough information to identify effective teachers who can serve as mentors. Results will be used to inform the state’s
Believe and Prepare initiative in which school systems create partnerships with colleges and other training programs to recruit teacher candidates and to train them under the tutelage of master teachers in school settings. A complete breakdown of survey results can be found here.

“Louisiana’s colleges of education have made great improvements in recent years,” said State Superintendent John White. “At the same time, we can no longer tolerate shortages in critical math and science positions. And there is no reason we should train an educator for years only to wonder after the fact whether he or she is an effective teacher. The implications of this survey are clear: teacher training programs and school systems must join together to identify the subjects and grades in which teachers will be needed in the future and to provide teacher candidates as much time in the classroom as possible before their first days on the job.”

“Since the redesign of our teacher preparation programs, Louisiana’s universities have continued to meet with K-12 partners who serve on their advisory councils and have integrated the new State content standards and the new Compass teacher evaluation standards into their teacher preparation curriculum to improve the preparation of new teachers,” said Tom Layzell, Senior Advisor to the Board of Regents.  “We are aware of changes that are occurring in K-12 schools and are very open to deepening our partnerships with school districts to prepare the effective new teachers that they need.”

Survey Results

To better understand the relationship between teacher preparation programs and the needs of districts and schools, the Department surveyed new teachers, the programs preparing them, and the districts and schools hiring them. The results provided valuable insight into the challenges new teachers, principals, district leaders, and preparation programs face. Those challenges include:

  • School systems and preparation programs agree that teacher candidates need more hands-on experience prior to entering the classroom full-time, but they typically do not partner to provide adequate time for aspiring teachers to practice in the classroom and do not consistently pair aspiring educators with top educators as coaches or mentors. According to preparation faculty surveyed, 51 percent said there are not enough classrooms for student teachers, and 38 percent said they don’t have enough information to identify qualified educators to mentor and coach aspiring teachers.

  • Preparation programs and school systems generally agree on what should be taught to teacher candidates, but greater collaboration is needed to better prepare new teachers to be “ready on day one” for the classroom. Only 39 percent of school and district leaders surveyed said they regularly collaborate with preparation programs to align preparation practices focused on the knowledge and skills a new teacher needs in order to be successful from day one.
  • School systems experience shortages of teachers in specific subject areas but typically do not coordinate with preparation programs on recruitment into these subject areas. Sixty-three percent of district leaders surveyed reported partnerships with preparation programs do not produce enough teachers to meet demand in all subjects and grade levels, while 48 percent of preparation program faculty members said they do not get enough information about districts’ staffing needs to inform recruiting and selection. 

“West Feliciana and LSU’s Cain Center are working closely together to increase the number of math and science teachers through an innovative residency model,” said Hollis Milton, Superintendent for West Feliciana Parish Schools. “We believe that our close work with LSU will strategically address the shortage of math and science teachers and offer our high school students increased opportunities for dual enrollment.”

About Believe and Prepare

Believe and Prepare, the Department provides grants to empower districts to design innovative, classroom- and school-based preparation experiences for aspiring educators. These experiences give prospective teachers the opportunity to develop their skills in the classroom alongside Louisiana’s best educators.

School districts and institutions of higher learning across Louisiana are partnering to design hands-on learning experiences to ensure that the State’s future educators are “ready to teach” in Louisiana’s classrooms.

“Teacher candidates involved in our Believe and Prepare program are provided with an early induction to the culture of the school system,” said Felicia Gomez, Superintendent for St. Charles Parish Schools. 

“Collegiate Academies' Teacher Residency Program and our partnership with The New Teacher Project are helping to prepare new instructors for the demands of teaching by immersing them in the classroom from day one of school,” said Ben Marcovitz, Chief Executive Officer for Collegiate Academies.

The Department and the Board of Regents continue to explore opportunities to build on the past decade’s improvements to teacher preparation programs. This fall, the Department will expand the
Believe and Prepare pilot program to further catalyze innovation taking place in teacher preparation and better support partnerships between school systems and preparation programs across the state.

To read the report on the survey,
Partners in Preparation: A Survey of Educators and Education Preparation Programs, please click here.

To learn more about the Believe and Prepare initiative, please click

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