Dec 05, 2017
Initiative Responds to Report Showing Rural Teachers Less Likely to Receive Full-Year Preparation

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana Department of Education today announced select school systems will receive $675,000 in grant funding to develop a training model that affords aspiring educators who have already gone to college the opportunity to spend significant time in a classroom under the tutelage of an expert mentor prior to assuming full responsibility of a classroom.

The initiative, which will unfold as a two-year pilot program, responds to a recent report showing teachers in rural settings, many of whom pursued teaching certification after earning an undergraduate degree in another field, are less likely to receive sufficient on-the-job training, including extensive time to practice under an expert mentor, prior to becoming full-time educators. The report charged the state with creating a post-baccalaureate preparation model to address this issue.

"Every aspiring teacher deserves sufficient time to practice before assuming full responsibility of a classroom," said State Superintendent John White. "Starting next year, undergraduates completing their degrees in education will be required to complete a yearlong, classroom-based residency under the tutelage of an expert mentor as part of their training. We owe similar opportunities to  those who aspire to teach but who have already earned degrees in other fields."

Twenty-four school systems applied to participate in the pilot program, and seven were selected to receive full funding. The seven selected school systems include those in Catahoula, East Carroll, Pointe Coupee, Richland, St. Landry, West Carroll and Winn parishes. All remaining applicants were invited to join a Community of Learning to support this work.

The pilot program will begin in December 2017. At that time, the seven selected school systems, along with members of the Community of Learning, will begin working with a network of state preparation providers to create and implement post-baccalaureate preparation experiences that satisfy the state's workforce needs.

The seven school systems will receive customized, free support during this process, and will be involved in ongoing dialogue with the state about program implementation and outcomes in an effort to help produce models that are fiscally sustainable and replicable in both rural and non-rural settings.

Each of the seven school systems will receive $15,000 in the first year, and additional funds will be awarded over time to assist with the costs associated with rolling out the pilot, based on the scope of the plan submitted and the size of the school system.

Members of the Community of Learning, who will have the opportunity to attend grant convenings and support the development of the preparation models, will also receive stipends. Charter sites will receive $500 and school districts will receive $2,500.

All awards will be sent to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval at its February 2018 meeting.

For more information about teacher preparation in Louisiana, click here.

To learn more about teacher preparation efforts in rural communities, click here.

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