Dec 10, 2014

Second Round of Grants Seeks Partnerships to Prepare Teachers in the Classroom

BATON ROUGE, La. - The Louisiana Department of Education today released a
Request for Applications for the second cohort of Believe and Prepare Educator Preparation Grants. The grants are aimed at partnering Louisiana school districts with educator preparation programs to better prepare aspiring educators for the classroom. This second cohort of grant recipients will operate March 2015 through June 2016.

The first cohort of grant recipients has created full-year residencies or apprenticeships for aspiring teachers, redesigning theory-based academic coursework into school-based, practice-oriented preparation experiences that draw on the expertise of highly effective classroom teachers and school leaders. Next year, these pilots will expand their programs, develop formal partnership agreements focused on meeting short and long-term workforce projections, and/or train school leaders to make certification decisions based on aspiring teachers’ demonstration of teaching skill and impact on student learning.

The Believe and Prepare pilot program’s overall direction was affirmed at the Department's Educator Preparation Policy Forum on December 3. The forum, attended by over 60 legislators, educators, K-12 and higher education leaders, and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members, was an opportunity to discuss and gather input on challenges and opportunities in recruiting and preparing the state’s next generation of educators. The policy forum continued the Department’s long-term work to strengthen teacher preparation in Louisiana such as educator surveys, focus groups, and the work of the Believe and Prepare pilot programs.

“It’s important that our colleges and universities are graduating teachers, but it’s even more important those teachers are fully prepared to step into the classroom and immediately be effective educators,” said State Superintendent John White. “Creating partnerships through these grants ensures that school systems and colleges are on the same page and working to fulfill the needs in Louisiana’s classrooms.”

Seven to 10 pilot programs will receive up to $100,000 to create full-year residencies or apprenticeships for aspiring teachers and may partner with existing teacher preparation programs to redesign theory-based academic coursework into school-based, practice-oriented coursework. In Believe and Prepare programs, aspiring teachers:

  • Spend a full school year practicing in partner district’s classrooms
  • Work closely with highly effective mentor teachers, receiving coaching on weekly basis
  • Set and measure progress against targets for student learning
  • Participate in partner district’s and school’s training and development events
  • Receive feedback and support from principals and other school leaders

Earlier this year, the Department announced the first cohort of Believe and Prepare recipients, which included the following school systems:

  • Collegiate Academies in partnership with TNTP
  • Lafourche Parish in partnership with Nicholls State University
  • Lincoln Parish in partnership with Louisiana Tech University  
  • New Orleans College Prep in partnership with Relay Graduate School of Education
  • St. Bernard Parish (applying as a provider of teacher certification)
  • St. Charles Parish in partnership with Southeastern Louisiana University
  • West Feliciana Parish in partnership with Louisiana State University

Like many school systems around the state, West Feliciana Parish Schools is in need of qualified and classroom-ready teachers specializing in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. The district partnered with LSU’s Cain Center to better prepare future STEM teachers.

“We’re seeing the benefits of the Believe and Prepare grant right now,” said West Feliciana Parish School Superintendent Hollis Milton. “Through our partnership with LSU, we are able to provide aspiring teachers a full year of classroom experience under highly qualified mentor teachers, providing them a more hands on clinical experience than their colleagues who may only spend a semester student teaching.”

School systems can submit application for the second cohort of Believe and Prepare grants through January 30, 2015. Grant winners will be announced in February 2015.

Believe and Prepare grant recipients will begin work on their programs in March 2015 and continuing through the 2015-2016 school year.

For more information on Believe and Prepare, please click

To access the Request for Applications for cohort 2 of Believe and Prepare, please click

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