TeachingWorks Receives $6.8 Million Grant to Support Broad Transformation in Teacher Preparation

TeachingWorks, a national organization based at the University of Michigan School of Education dedicated to improving professional preparation for teaching, has received a $6.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a Teacher Preparation Transformation Center. The Teacher Preparation Transformation Center Initiative (TPTCI), developed by the Gates Foundation, is designed to create a diverse national network of teacher education providers that will build—both independently and collectively—effective pathways for the preparation of beginning teachers. The other centers in the TPTCI are: University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation (U.S.PREP) National Center, based at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX; New York, NY; Teacher2, led by the Relay Graduate School of Education  in New York, NY; National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) Transformation Center in Chicago; and Elevate Preparation, Impact Children (EPIC), led by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Through this initiative, TeachingWorks will offer direct professional support—including workshops, modeling, and coaching—to staff members in the other national centers and, as needed, to teacher educators in each center’s provider network. This work will focus on strengthening teachers’ preparation by engaging in continuous improvement, supporting the effectiveness of teacher educators, and coordinating professional preparation with school systems and the communities they serve.

TeachingWorks will also lead the development and implementation of formative and exit assessments that will provide practice-based assessments of novice teachers’ capability, ensuring that beginning teachers are safe to practice before taking independent responsibility for a classroom of students. Finally, TeachingWorks will collaborate closely with the other centers in disseminating their own learning, helping to develop and package products that come from the centers’ work, and creating a digital resource center that will catalogue, house, and make these products accessible to others.

Dr. Deborah Loewenberg Ball, director of TeachingWorks and dean of the University of Michigan School of Education, said that “the Teacher Preparation Transformation Center Initiative is an exceptional opportunity to expand our knowledge in the field of teacher preparation and development, and to contribute to an unprecedented collective effort to improve the quality of beginning teaching in the U.S.”

“It will take a wide variety of partners and teacher preparation programs serving diverse communities and students to ensure that all new teachers are well prepared, and that all students receive excellent instruction,” Ball continued. “The TPTCI is providing a groundbreaking opportunity to prepare tomorrow’s teachers for skillful and responsible practice, and we look forward to the important work ahead.”

TeachingWorks, established at the University of Michigan in 2012, aims to transform teacher preparation in the U.S. by developing consensus around a threshold of practice for entry to teaching. A key component of the TeachingWorks mission is its commitment to the idea that all students deserve great teachers, regardless of race, family income, or geography. Although great teachers can be found in every community, children of color and low-income communities are disproportionally affected by underprepared and under-supported teaching.

Ball notes that “this grant from the Gates Foundation will enable TeachingWorks, working in partnership with the other centers, to advance the broad transformation of teacher preparation in the United States and fundamentally improve the quality of beginning teaching in communities across this country.”