University of Lynchburg will revamp its teacher education programs by the fall of 2019, becoming the first higher education institution in the country to integrate a mentor/coaching model championed by the New Teacher Center of Santa Cruz, Calif.
The Jessie Ball DuPont fund recently awarded an $86,500 grant to the University of Lynchburg School of Education, Leadership Studies, and Counseling to help redesign the teacher preparation programs and integrate evidence-based practices using the New Teacher Center model.
That model “focuses on continuous improvement and reflection around the teaching and learning process,” said Dr. Roger Jones, dean of the School of Education, Leadership Studies, and Counseling.
Dr. Jones described the impact of the grant as “huge,” adding that, “In terms of our entire restructuring, it’s the linchpin that ties everything else together. Without this grant, we would have had to move in a different direction. It’s really huge.”
The grant-funded initiative responds to changes in state and national standards for teacher preparation programs and will serve as the national pilot to seamlessly integrate the New Teacher Center model from pre-service to early career teacher development.
And it comes at a time Dr. Jones described as the “perfect storm.” New program approval regulations are due to be signed by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Lynchburg’s faculty are preparing to implement a new general education curriculum, and the licensure programs at Lynchburg are moving toward national accreditation.
“All three of those things coming together at the same time really provides the catalyst for what we’re doing, to be able to connect to the New Teacher Center and their tools and research and mentoring and coaching model,” Dr. Jones said.
“This is the best mentor/coaching model for new teachers who are just hired in the country, and we will become the first college or university in the country to actually take their model and implement it in teacher preparation.”
The program also will enable Lynchburg to track the progress of its education graduates. “For teachers who are hired in Central Virginia, after they graduate with us, we’ll be able to follow their progress for one to two years after graduation,” Dr. Jones said.
“It really is a very unique program and at this point we are the national pilot with the New Teacher Center to integrate their new teacher resources and assessments into the teacher prep program. It’s huge.”