TERI Update for the Week of January 4th, 2010
Welcome to the first installment of the TERI Update. We hope to use this regular (weekly and as needed) email communication as a way to keep all of us informed about works in progress, deliberations, decisions, and events related to the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative. This installment will be particularly long because of the upcoming retreat (Jan 14 and 15) and all the information we have to share in preparation for that. Use the headers to guide you to the information you need.
TERI Retreat January 14 and 15
• Accept an invitation to NING. To help facilitate the collaboration and communication within task groups and the LSP in general, we have created a NING site. Michelle Gabrielli will email an invitation to join this site by Friday of this week. Please accept the invitation by following the instructions in the email. There will be a brief overview on using this communication tool on the 14th, but feel free to explore it once you have been given access.
• Bring a laptop. We will be using technology for drafting, feedback, and document sharing purposes. The hotel has wi-fi capability and we anticipate that you will need to access the NING site as well as other Internet resources.
• Read in advance. Many of you have already received the book Preparing Teachers for a Changing World. We would like for you to read the following sections before the retreat as background preparation and a description of the conceptual direction for this work.
o Chapt 2: Theories of learning and their roles in teaching, particularly pp. 48-51
o Chapt 10: How teachers learn and develop
o Chapt 11: The design of teacher education programs
If you do not yet have the book, you can access an electronic copy of the chapters below or in the Retreat Materials category to the right.
o Create common ground for the overall program structures (such as clinical work, performance assessments, core curriculum) for all teacher preparation programs.
o Draft curriculum outlines and core performance assessments
o Develop work plans in each task area for spring / summer 2010
8:00 a.m. Breakfast - Leadership Team and School-Based Participants
• Leadership team and task group chairs have breakfast with school-based participants to bring them up to speed on decisions made so far and give them time to ask questions
8:30 a.m. Gathering
• University participants register and gather for breakfast
9:00 a.m. Opening comments
10:00 a.m. Task group discussions with whole group led by chairs
11:45 a.m. Lunch
12:45 p.m. Task group work time in breakout rooms
(Curriculum & Assessment, Research, Recruitment & Admissions - Leadership Team and school participants are distributed among these task groups.)
5:00 p.m. Afternoon Break
5:30 p.m. Dinner
6:30 p.m. Task Group reports and feedback with whole group over dessert
• Member of Task Group give 5 minute summary of progress, raise key questions that they really want feedback from larger group about
• Task Groups reconvene for to identify key questions / topics for Friday work session
8:30 - 9:00 p.m. Adjourn for night
8:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:30 a.m. Task Group work time
• Begin with feedback from NING site / dessert discussion
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Curriculum & Assessment Task Group Check-in with whole group
• Report on progress
• Assessing the role of partnerships in the redesign discussions
• Get feedback from the large group
2:30 p.m. Task Group work time
(Partnerships, Curriculum & Assessment, Research, Recruitment & Admissions)
4:00 p.m. Reconvene as large group to assess progress, capture key issues that need attention in the overall TERI work, and identify next steps
5:00 p.m. Adjourn
Other Pertinent Information
We recognize that Jan 14 and 15 are contracted work days for college employees and payment for this work is not contractually an option. We also recognize that this type of work is intensifying the workload of many already-busy people. So, we are working on ways that we can compensate people for the intensification of their work that this will demand. This will have to be different for people depending on their contract at the university and their school districts. We have a few ideas for how to re-invest our resources in ourselves by setting up professional development funds and making resources available that will enhance our working environments. One example of how we have tried to think creatively about not adding additional responsibilities to people's workload this year, was to reconfigure LSP subcommittee assignments that were already in place as a service assignment in the college to the TERI task groups. We welcome your input on how to acknowledge the work intensification, compensate people appropriately, and use our grant resources as an investment in our people and programs.
We proposed an extended off campus retreat in our proposal to the Bush Foundation for several reasons. We understand from the literature in organizational change that being away from one's "usual" surroundings allows for increased creativity and a sense of shared outcomes. The retreat will allow us to move forward quickly with important decisions in which many stakeholders (both within CEHD and the P-12 school partners) will be present to contribute. Otherwise, we will have to build this workload in during the regular semester. The national coaches that Bush provided also praised the concept of using a retreat for this work
We received feedback from one faculty member who had heard from others that they were concerned about the choice of holding this retreat off campus during a time when everyone is tightening their belts. We want to assure everyone that all of the funding for the retreat will be from the Bush Foundation grant and was budgeted for in that proposal. And in the end, we are using less than half of the dollars that we originally budgeted for the retreat since we are booking space in an off-season time when hotels are offering good packages of services. No U of MN or Minnesota tax dollars are being spent for the retreat, and we still anticipate that Minnesota's children will greatly benefit from the creative work its University employees will accomplish in these two focused work days.
We want to use these generous resources wisely and believe that investing in the expert knowledge within the college is a key use of these resources during these important planning stages. We "shopped around" for a location that was designed to support business meetings, was close enough to not use valuable time for too much travel but would still get us "away," and that offered competitive pricing. Serena Wright did a great job of identifying the Sofitel after visiting and pricing several locations. Campus venues turn out to be more costly for rooms, food, and other "meeting type" supports than the outside venue since they charge "a la carte" for each service requested, which adds up quickly. The outside vendors that were investigated offered packages of services. An interesting observation from Serena: when she did the site visits to other locations in search of a reasonably priced venue, sales managers told her that they had upcoming retreats for the University that included the Humphrey Institute and the Carlson School. Overnight stays are an additional cost, but we really want people to temporarily remove themselves from their usual environment and get immersed the work . . . This is akin to when faculty serve on a grant review panel, a national committee / board meeting, or an on-site accreditation visit and focus on a common task for a sustained period of time. We have high hopes for the productivity we can support during the retreat.
TERI Design Principles . . . So Far
In order to make a proposal to the Bush Foundation, we drew on ideas from college retreats in the past three years, ongoing LSP conversations, national trends, and our own candidate feedback via surveys and interviews to put together the overarching design principles for this work. These have been presented publicly a few times, and nothing much has changed in recent weeks. All of these commitments are at this broad level at this point, so there is still a lot of decision making to be done on structure and practice. The full proposal that we submitted can be found at http://www.cehd.umn.edu/teri/ . To access the proposal, click on "Phase II Bush Proposal" under the TERI Blog heading on the right. In a distilled format, here are the guiding elements of the teacher education redesign that we proposed.
Focus on Student Learning
Through TERI, the University of Minnesota will be known for preparing and supporting teachers who focus relentlessly on student learning.
Student learning requires teachers who have both expert subject knowledge and the flexibility and inventiveness to adapt to the diverse learning needs of their students, including working effectively with students learning English and students with special learning needs. We will also emphasize the skills required to use the latest instructional technology to enhance student learning.
Diversifying the Teaching Work Force
A nationwide shortage of teachers of color is well documented. TERI will identify effective strategies for recruiting and retaining teachers of color, with a particular focus on undergraduate students at the University. A teaching force that more closely resembles the student population in Minnesota is essential for providing diverse cultural perspectives in schools, offering students images of a diverse profession of teaching, and for tapping into culturally appropriate approaches to the benefit of P-12 students. All teachers prepared through TERI will be adept at working with all students, regardless of background.
Enhanced Clinical Experiences
Through University partnerships with designated professional development schools, teacher candidates will gain access to high quality school-based experiences and to the expertise of master teachers. At the same time, the schools will gain opportunities to develop the leadership and instructional skills of their faculty. The focus of professional development schools is research-based teaching and learning that will benefit P-12 students.
Strengthening our Curriculum
TERI will add focus to our efforts in four areas: preparation for work with special education students, preparation for work with English language learners, development of cultural competence, and preparation for working effectively with families and communities.
Improving Teacher Support
We will establish a multi-year system for new teachers in our partner districts that will provide the support and guidance they need to succeed in their first years of teaching. This will include assisting school leadership in developing a comprehensive system based on research into effective ways to improve teacher support.
We will measure progress made by the students taught by teachers who have completed preparation with us and guarantee that these P-12 students will experience at least one year of academic growth in one year of instruction.
Bush Foundation Summit on Value Added Research in Teacher Preparation Jan 12 & 13
The last element in the design principles above, measuring effectiveness, was a stipulation by the Bush Foundation for all institutions proposing a partnership with them. The foundation has entered into partnership with 14 teacher preparation institutions in Minnesota, North and South Dakota and each one has agreed to provide a guarantee of effectiveness of their teaching candidates to be determined based on student growth measures. The effectiveness guarantee is not in place during their teacher preparation program, but will be determined after they have been hired as a teacher and taught in a school for a year. At this point, we have not made any promises about what actually happens if a teacher is found to be "ineffective" based on these measures. However, note that based on these elements of the redesign, the preparation of teaching candidates does not end upon their recommendation for licensure. We plan to provide more support for our teaching candidates after they enter into their teaching careers.
The accountability model that the Bush Foundation is relying on is based on the work done in Louisiana that links pupil performance not only to the teacher in the school, but to the teacher preparation program that prepared the teacher. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/12/AR2009121202631.html?wpisrc=newsletter for a lay summary. More Louisiana state details and technical reports can be found here: http://regents.state.la.us/Academic/TE/Value%20Added.htm .
As we enter into this work with the Bush Foundation, we are aware that the guarantee of teacher effectiveness is complicated technically, politically, and practically. However, we believe that the first redesign element, a renewed focus on student learning, requires us to pay attention to how well candidates from our programs can support the learning of all students in their charge when they become teachers. We also know that nationally, this work is happening based on the current administration's education platform, the Race to the Top competition, and increasing pressure on teacher preparation institutions to demonstrate their quality. We see our participation in this work with the Bush Foundation as an opportunity to help shape the process by which we measure effectiveness here in Minnesota as well as nationally. We have an opportunity to guide how the data from student and teacher performance can best be used to improve our program performance, the performance of our candidates, and the performance of the P-12 students.
To this end, we have invited several members of the college and school partners to attend a Bush Foundation hosted event on value added research on Jan 12 and 13 to contribute to this conversation. At this time, participants include Jane Gilles, Bob Utke, Geoff Maruyama, Gillian Roehrig, Michael Rodriguez, Kent Pekel, Sue Rose, Lloyd Komatsu (Forest Lake Schools), Lori Helman, Richard Wassen, Michael Goh, Mary Trettin, Carole Gupton, Martha Bigelow, Misty Sato, Kay Herting-Wahl, and Julie Kalnin. We will provide an update from this meeting in the next TERI update and at the retreat.
Teacher Performance Assessment
Minnesota has entered into an agreement with the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and the Council of Chief State School Officers to begin piloting a Teacher Performance Assessment. We are serving as the lead IHE on this initiative and several other "Bush Partner" institutions have joined us in the initial planning for this work. The state Board of Teaching has been working closely with us to fast track the state toward this performance model as part of the state accountability system for teacher preparation programs, which has recently been redesigned. This performance assessment is based on the National Board Certification model and is designed as a capstone performance assessment (using video analysis and student work analysis) for pre-service teachers. The national model will be built on the performance assessment that has been in use in California for several years (see http://www.pacttpa.org/_main/hub.php?pageName=Home for more information). We have been discussing with the Bush Foundation how this Teacher Performance Assessment can be used as a valid measurement tool for teacher performance in addition to the value added processes that will be the focus of this summit. Read more information about this national effort in the document below.