TDOE Releases Report on New Teacher Landscape, Proposes Recommendations to Strengthen Educator Preparation and District Partnerships

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 | 10:15am

NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced her plans today to strengthen the new teacher pipeline in key areas through additional state support and focus on partnerships between districts and preparation programs. This new work aims to address two key challenges: shortages of educators to teach in certain subject areas and new teacher quality.

At an event in Nashville that brought together state leaders, postsecondary institutions, education preparation providers (EPPs), educators, and stakeholders, the Tennessee Department of Education released Preparation through Partnership: Strengthening Tennessee’s New Teacher Pipeline, a report that calls out the areas of greatest teacher demand – especially English as a second language, world languages, and science – and highlights the variation in effectiveness across our novice teacher workforce. The report notes that districts and schools in different parts of Tennessee face varying challenges, and it proposes developing a collaborative and coherent statewide strategy to strengthen the new teacher pipeline.

“While we do not have a statewide teacher supply issue, we do have specific teacher licensure areas in higher demand in certain regions across the state. We also see variance in the quality of teacher graduates across preparation programs,” said Commissioner McQueen. “As a result, we must continue to improve our systems to ensure that new teachers find their way into the schools and districts that need them most – and that they continue to develop their effectiveness once they get there.”

As part of a collaborative approach to addressing the issues of supply and quality, the department is taking several steps to provide better data to inform decision-making and provide new resources for partnerships and collaboration among state agencies, districts, and EPPs.

Through new annual reports just released, the department has begun directly providing EPPs disaggregated data related to their program completers. These reports include information about employment and effectiveness once teaching in Tennessee classrooms. This information will further encourage EPPs to reflect on their individual programs and to better understand how they can support the development of effective novice teachers.

Additionally, Commissioner McQueen announced a $200,000 state investment in innovation grants to incentivize EPPs to design new strategies that will support the development of a diverse educator workforce, increase production of educators in high-demand licensure areas, and promote collaboration to improve educator preparation in the area of literacy.

In today’s report, the department further explores the state’s role in educator preparation and provides a series of specific recommendations for districts and EPPs to collaboratively support this work going forward. These next steps build on a growing momentum across the state to continue to improve the new teacher pipeline, from the design and structure of educator preparation programs through the ongoing development of new teachers. Recommendations include:

  • Districts should prioritize determining their hiring needs in advance and share this information with EPP partners.
  • Districts and EPPs should use data from EPP annual reports and human capital reports to jointly develop targeted recruitment strategies.
  • EPPs need to provide strong job placement support to candidates.
  • Districts must strategically design targeted human capital efforts.
  • EPPs must continue to improve their ability to develop and deliver relevant and rigorous coursework.
  • Districts and EPPs should collaborate closely to ensure high-quality and meaningful clinical experiences for teachers in training.
  • Districts should regularly review the systems they have in place for developing and supporting novice teachers.
  • EPPs must ensure that they provide aspiring educators with a strong understanding of statewide instructional initiatives.

The full report released today is available on the department’s website. For more information about the department’s new teacher pipeline efforts, please contact Amy Wooten, executive director of educator licensure and preparation, at Amy.Wooten@tn.gov. For media inquiries, please contact Chandler Hopper at (615) 218-4013 or Chandler.Hopper@tn.gov.

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