Hamline University
May 25, 2011

Hamline School of Education partners with Bush Foundation and other schools to improve K-12 teacher education

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"We accepted the challenge from the Bush Foundation to help transform teacher education,” said Frank Hernandez, assistant professor and chair of the Department of Continuing Studies, Partnerships and Initiatives in the Hamline University School of Education.

Hamline and its partner institutions Augsburg College, Bethel University, Concordia University, St. Catherine University, and University of St. Thomas formed the Twin Cities Teacher Collaborative, or TC2. The group will receive $7 million from the Bush Foundation to radically change the way they prepare future teachers. As a group, they produce 20% of Minnesota’s new teachers each year, and Hernandez believes this gives the schools a huge opportunity to make a significant impact on education in Minnesota. In all, the Bush Foundation will give $40 million to 14 schools, including the six TC2 schools, over the next 10 years, to improve teacher preparation.

TC2 has four primary goals. The first is to improve recruitment. Hamline and the other schools hope to improve quality of education majors by identifying teaching-students who can address high need areas, such as bilingual education or science. The next is teacher preparation. The universities will use resources to alter and infuse their curriculums to address the evolving needs to K-12 students. The third is better placement. The schools plan to require more intensive and longer student teacher training. Additionally, the collaborating classroom teacher will receive training to help improve the experience for all involved. The final is to increase support. The member schools will stay connected with their graduates to support these new teachers as they begin their careers.

“We contracted with the Wilder Foundation to collect information on the effectiveness of these efforts as well,” Hernandez said. “We also are working with Value-Added Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to collect student achievement data from the classrooms where our teachers are located.”

TC2 will be the institutional framework, providing information and funding for the partner schools. Hernandez believes this is crucial because the program will “continually change as we learn more about what works best.”

Hamline has already begun to implement changes to its education program such as training current classroom teachers to improve the outcomes for student-teachers. Other changes, such as a curriculum redesign, are likely to come in the near future.

“When the Bush Foundation resources run out, the program won’t end, because we are using the money to learn and to implement the best teaching practices,” Hernandez said. “Thus, after we have transformed our program, we do not feel we will need additional resources to maintain it.”

The Bush Foundation is currently running a series of ads to promote the teacher preparation partnership and efforts. The group takes its next step with its June 26 innovation summit at Hamline. To learn more about the program visit: http://www.tcteacher.org/