Educator Preparation in Louisiana

The day-to-day work of a classroom teacher is complex and challenging, as is the work to recruit and prepare Louisiana’s next generation of teachers. As part of a long-term body of work to strengthen teacher preparation in Louisiana, the LDOE has kicked off several engagement opportunities with educators across the state to gather their feedback on teacher preparation experiences and how they can be strengthened.

In July 2014, the Department surveyed teachers statewide about their own experiences with preparation and in the classroom. Principals and Personnel Directors shared their experience hiring and supporting new teachers, and preparation program faculty shared their collaborations with partner schools and districts.

Believe & Prepare

Key Initiative One-Pager

Those results have been released in the LDOE’s Partners in Preparation: A Survey of Educators & Education Preparation Programs report. This report highlights some of the current challenges facing teacher preparation programs, and shares ideas from educators, including the Believe and Prepare pilots, as to how districts and preparation programs can collaborate to improve this experience for future teacher candidates.

On March 6, 2015 over 100 legislators, educators, K-12 and higher education leaders, and BESE members met to discuss challenges and opportunities in recruiting and preparing the state's next generation of educators. This event is the first in a series of policy forums where the Department will provide stakeholders with the opportunity to review and discuss teacher preparation policy proposals that will be developed over the course of the next year.

Believe and Prepare

The Department launched the Believe and Prepare Educator Grant Program in spring 2014, and has awarded $4.89 million to three cohorts since then. Cohort 3, the largest of the cohorts, was recently announced with the Department awarding $2.85 million to 41 school systems and charter schools, bringing the total school systems working to prepare more than 800 teacher candidates to 62. Many of these school systems are partnering with preparation programs to build a statewide corps of more than 500 mentor teachers who will work with teachers preparing for certification, grow the number of aspiring teachers in full-year residencies up to 1,000 for the 2016-2017 school year, and increase the number of special education teachers preparing to teach in Louisiana.

View the list of cohort 1 and 2 pilots.

View the list of cohort 3 pilots.

Believe and Prepare Tools and Resources

The first annual Believe and Prepare Report highlights best practices gleaned from the first two cohorts of the Believe and Prepare educator preparation grant program. These lessons include:

  • Yearlong apprenticeships preparing aspiring teachers for classroom realities: Aspiring teachers should experience at least one full year of practice through an apprenticeship or residency as part of their preparation program.

  • Expert mentor teachers are crucial component of successful apprenticeships: The mentor teacher role is a defining factor in the success of yearlong apprenticeships. Aspiring teachers should participate in a preparation program designed around requiring mastery of core teaching skills and competencies versus “seat time” requirements.

  • Aspiring teachers learn best when theory is combined with practice: Teacher preparation   programs should include more practical coursework in teaching methods, classroom management, and working with students with special needs.
The Partnership Toolkit, a “how-to guide” that provides guidance and tools to help build, grow, or strengthen a Believe and Prepare partnership that centers on the goal of preparing aspiring teachers who can support all students on their path to attaining a college degree or a professional career.

The Believe and Prepare Community is a group of school systems and preparation programs committed to developing and offering next-generation teacher preparation programs that meet schools’ staffing needs and prepare teachers for Louisiana’s classrooms. This community meets regularly to create and review tools, exchange ideas, and advise the Department on policy development.

To view Community Meeting agendas and break-out session materials, visit the Believe and Prepare Library.