Contact: Alex Lyda;
For immediate release — July 27, 2021
(DALLAS) — The Dallas College School of Education is set to improve teacher training across Texas with the aim of increasing the number of highly qualified candidates needed to keep pace with the state’s growing need for excellent teachers.
Over the next three years, a $1.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help Dallas College’s School of Education and the Center for Transforming Alternative Preparation Pathways (CTAPP) support, align and improve alternative teacher certificate pathways, or ACPs, across the state. Some 70% of all novice teacher candidates now obtain their certification through ACPs, which allow candidates to teach while completing certification requirements.
Amid a dramatic growth in ACPs, a number of disparate practices that ultimately impact the quality of student instruction has emerged. The School of Education, however, recognized the need for uniform training steeped in best practices that allow new teachers to better lead their classrooms at the outset and partnered with CTAPP to fill the gap.
Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which spurred some early retirements among veteran teachers, Texas was still in dire need of a greater number of high-quality educators and additional new educators from diverse backgrounds.
“School districts across Texas rely on ACPs to meet their hiring needs, but what if those ACP candidates were better prepared for teaching, and what if these novice teachers reflected the diversity of their PK-12 students?” said Chris Reid, associate dean and director of CTAPP at Dallas College. “Our program strives to work with ACPs to create a pipeline of effective teachers, both responding to districts’ needs and impacting student achievement and growth.”
How the Transformation Will Happen
CTAPP, now at Dallas College, will host an inaugural cohort of transformation fellows among four different teacher preparation programs in Texas. In addition to the ACP at Dallas College, the School of Education will also work with programs at the Harris County Department of Education in Houston, at McLennan Community College in Waco and at ACT-Rio Grande Valley in Pharr, Texas.
During three-year fellowships at each training site, School of Education instructors will work to improve novice teacher curricula and coursework, support robust field supervision and implement new coaching practices that enhance existing structures, all while continuing to build impactful partnerships with prekindergarten-through-12th-grade local education agencies.
Under the arrangement, Dallas College will work with these ACPs to define clear, agreed-upon outcomes, milestones and metrics for implementing quality, sustainable educator training programs that will also grow to meet workforce needs. Dallas College and CTAPP will build a teacher-training model that can be implemented more broadly by using data to continuously improve educator preparation programs to consistently produce high-quality teachers.
“The goal is not to produce more teachers for the sake of producing more teachers but to create sustainable educational preparation pathways that will have a beneficial impact on the quality and readiness of teachers entering this vitally important profession,” said Dr. Rob DeHaas, vice provost of the School of Education at Dallas College. “Alternative pathways can be an effective and rapid way to begin a teaching career; however, having the evidence-based technical support of CTAPP — backed by the generosity of the Gates Foundation — will produce more high-quality teachers who will also remain in the classroom longer.”
Plans Aim To Keep the Momentum Going
With the number of candidates needing to enter the pipeline now, Dallas College and its partners may eventually work with additional programs each year as demand grows, Reid added.
“Increasing the number of high-quality pathways available to students who themselves someday want to become credentialed educators will make a big impact for generations to come,” said Dr. Joe May, chancellor of Dallas College. “Dallas College is grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its support of our School of Education as it embarks on enhancing teacher training pathways for the good of all students in Texas.”
In order to amplify Dallas College’s work across the state, funding will also support travel to additional sites as they come online, as well as visits to the existing ACPs to develop and support programs over the next three years.
“Dallas College and its partners will ease the burden on the staffs of educator preparation programs, which often have small training staffs that face the daunting task of developing novice teacher curricula, facilitating coursework instruction and supervising novice teacher candidates in the field,” Reid said.
Dallas College will also embed high-quality curricula and mentorship opportunities, as well as common instructional practices and quality coaching opportunities, during and after certification to reduce demands on these staffs, DeHaas added.
“The multiplier effect of the Gates Foundation’s investment cannot be overstated,” he said. “I join our chancellor in thanking the foundation for recognizing the importance of our work for future generations of Texans.”
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