The University of Houston, College of Education (UH COE) will benefit from an award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s which has funded a $34.7 million grant that will bring together higher education institutions, teacher-preparation providers and K-12 school systems to share data, knowledge and best practices.
The Gates Foundation reports that over three years the award will be used to form five Teacher Preparation Transformation Centers:
- Elevate Preparation, Impact Children (EPIC), led by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education;
- National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR);
- Teacher2, led by the Relay Graduate School of Education;
- TeachingWorks at the University of Michigan; and
- University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation (U.S.PREP) National Center, based at Texas Tech University.
UH COE will be part of the University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation (U.S.PREP) National Center which is a consortium of six universities committed to transforming their practices in partnership with K12 school systems to renew educator preparation. These universities are:
- Texas Tech University & Lubbock ISD
- Southern Methodist University & Dallas ISD
- University of Houston & Houston ISD
- Southeastern Louisiana University & Ascension / St. Charles Parish Schools
- Jackson State University & Jackson Public Schools
- University of Memphis & Shelby County Schools
UH COE professors, Andrea Burridge, Jen Chauvot, Shea Culpepper, Anne McClellan, Amber Thompson, and Laura Turchi have been involved in supporting the Gates Foundation Grant.
“Being part of Gates funding is exciting and speaks to the critical work being done here at the University of Houston, College of Education,” said Robert McPherson Dean of UH COE. “I see this as a great opportunity to collaborate with other teacher preparation programs interested in reform and learn from those who have already undergone program reform. We are interested in strengthening our partnerships with the school districts we serve.”
According to Sarah Beal, who will co-lead the U.S.PREP National Center, “Sharing, collaborating and learning from one another not only shows that we are models of learning, but also that we are taking responsibility and holding ourselves accountable for preparing classroom-ready teachers.”
"For too long, teacher preparation providers have not supplied the teachers students deserve," said Tom Stritikus, deputy director of innovation on the College Ready team at the foundation. "We're excited to work with these programs to learn how we can better prepare teachers to help students succeed, and we look forward to sharing our findings with the entire field."
"We know that having an excellent teacher is critical to a student’s success, but there is still much to learn about how to best prepare teacher-candidates to be successful in the classroom," said Vicki Phillips, director of College Ready Education at the Gates Foundation. "We’re excited to fund these new Teacher Preparation Transformation Centers so that together, we can better understand which practices are the most effective in preparing new teachers.”
The foundation's first investment as part of its teacher preparation strategy, which launched in April 2015 is focused on supporting programs that:
- Give candidates authentic opportunities to build and refine their skills;
- Commit to continuous improvement and accountability;
- Ensure that those who prepare new teachers are effective; and
- Are shaped by K-12 systems and the communities they serve.
Read more about the Teacher Preparation Transformation Centers initiative and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's education strategy.
Read more about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Preparation Grant: