Mar 06, 2015

Stakeholder Feedback to Grow Preparation Practices Statewide and Inform Participation Criteria

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Education today hosted the second in a series of Educator Preparation Policy Forums to discuss and gather input on challenges and opportunities in recruiting and preparing the next generation of teachers in Louisiana. This forum builds on the Department’s long-term work through the Believe and Prepare initiative to strengthen teacher preparation in the state through partnerships between teacher preparation programs and Louisiana public school systems. Discussion during the forum centered on growing the Believe and Prepare statewide; requirements for preparation programs to operate, including expectations for coursework and student teaching; and renewal for continued operation as a preparation program.

“Our students are the greatest asset for the future of our state,” said State Superintendent John White. “To ensure their success, we need to ensure the success of our teachers in the classroom starting from day one. That success is dependent upon the partnerships our school systems are forging with preparation programs to bring enough highly effective and qualified teachers into the classroom."

A recent survey of Louisiana educators found school system leaders are challenged to find enough qualified teachers to meet demands, universities and colleges have trouble finding enough classrooms for student teachers, and new teachers do not consistently feel prepared for the realities of the classroom setting.

Several of the challenges and opportunities in educator preparation discussed today included:

  • PROGRAM EXPERIENCE: There are essential skills, knowledge, and experiences every new teacher needs to be successful, but educator preparation programs should not be limited on how to provide these experiences. Universities and colleges should work with school systems to design programs based primarily in schools and classrooms.

  • MEETING SCHOOLS’ STAFFING NEEDS: Statewide, there are shortages of teachers certified to teach certain subjects, such as mathematics. Preparation programs and school system partners should set recruitment goals that match workforce needs.

  • GROWTH IN STUDENT LEARNING: Each year, The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and Board of Regents (BOR) report preparation programs’ impact on student learning through value-added results, but this only includes a portion of graduates. Preparation programs and school systems should set and measure program-level learning targets for graduates.

  • PRESTIGE OF THE TEACHING PROFESSION: In nations with top-ranked education systems, teaching is highly prestigious, attracting talented young people into the profession. Preparation programs and school systems should take steps to increase the prestige of the teaching profession through recruitment and admissions practices.

The forum included state lawmakers, members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Board of Regents, district leaders, educators, preparation program staff, teachers unions, and state business organizations.

In their first year of Believe and Prepare, Cohort 1 pilots 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. This 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.

In April, the Department will announce Cohort 2 Believe and Prepare pilots. Additionally, the Department will host regional forums this spring with preparation program faculty and local school leaders to further develop policies for consideration by BESE. Another statewide Educator Policy Forum will be held in the summer. In fall, the Department will propose policies, based on the stakeholder feedback, to BESE.

For more information on Believe and Prepare, please click here.

To view the presentation from today’s Educator Preparation Policy Forum, please click here.

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

# # # # # #