$4.1 Million Grant Supports Community-Based Teacher Preparation

Tanya Flushman, Megan Guise, and Briana Ronan

The School of Education (SOE) at Cal Poly benefits from external funding to support reform of its teacher preparation programs. In May 2018, the current awarded grants were in their last years, and the school realized the importance of securing additional funding to sustain reform efforts. Rumors of a new U.S. Department of Education Teacher Quality Partnership grant competition circulated spring quarter. 

External grants have improved the culture of SOE. What once were siloed teacher preparation programs now prioritize cross-program collaboration on course reform, research and unit-wide goals. 

In hopes of continuing these changes, SOE applied for the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Quality Partnership grant last year. Principal investigator Megan Guise, co-principal investigators Tanya Flushman and Briana Ronan, and grant manager Sarah Hegg collaborated with faculty, staff and administrators from higher education and K-12 institutions to write the proposal. 

In fall 2018, the SOE team and its partners joyfully greeted the news that the $4.1-million proposal had been funded. The grant supports deliberate and sustainable partnerships across multiple contexts and stakeholders to promote collaborative teacher preparation.

Project goals include:

  • Recruiting teachers from underrepresented populations and teacher shortage areas
  • Reforming courses and fieldwork
  • Implementing a two-year, formalized induction program for new teachers
  • Developing teacher learning around disciplinary literacy

Bringing together four colleges; the Office of University Diversity and Inclusion; the Center for Engineering, Science and Mathematics Education; and four high-need K-12 districts, the project addresses teacher preparation reform grounded in community-based approaches. 

SOE believes that by establishing partnerships between Cal Poly, K-12 schools and the surrounding communities, teacher candidates will be better prepared to teach within those communities. The partnership framework prioritizes a shared vision, structures that enable success, commitment of resources, and alignment between school and university personnel. 

After completing a community-based preparation program, teacher candidates will be able to recognize and leverage community assets and resources to become socially just and culturally responsive teachers.

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School of Education
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407