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RIDE and Office of Innovation Award $30,000 to Improve Teacher Preparation

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – At today’s Ed Prep Design Challenge Pitch Fest, two teams of educators were awarded $15,000 each to help improve teacher preparation in Rhode Island. The winning teams, made up of educator preparation faculty and K-12 educators, were selected by a panel of judges and will now have the opportunity to implement new design strategies during the 2018-19 academic year.

Both winning proposals focused on supports for English Learners and closing the achievement gap for this growing population of Rhode Island students.

“Educator preparation programs and our K-12 system cannot operate in isolation. We must work closely together to build a strong career pathway for all educators, from preparation to employment and beyond, through lifelong professional learning,” said Ken Wagner, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “The foundation for great teaching starts in our educator preparation programs, and the Ed Prep Design Challenge is helping to ensure that future teachers are being trained and supported in ways that align to the needs of our schools, districts and, most importantly, our students.”

“The needs of our students are rapidly evolving in the twenty-first century and our educators are working hard to simultaneously evolve their craft to best support them,” said Daniela Fairchild, Director of the RI Office of Innovation. “This design challenge is the first of its kind and has been an important and impactful opportunity for all educators to improve and better align educator preparation with the needs of our current students.”

The Ed Prep Design Challenge is a partnership between the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and the Rhode Island Office of Innovation (RIOI). Together, these two agencies launched the Ed Prep Design Fellowship Program with educators meeting monthly, starting in November 2017, to strategize how to better design and support educator preparation in Rhode Island. Eighteen educators from around the state participated as Ed Prep Design Fellows.

Beginning in June 2018, these Ed Prep Design Fellows teamed up with representatives from educator preparation programs to identify challenges and design solutions. Nine teams submitted proposals, with five teams moving on to today’s final Pitch Fest.

The Ed Prep Design Challenge is an effort of the Rhode Island Personalized Learning Initiative, supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Jaquelin Hume Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and Overdeck Family Foundation.

The winning teams and a summary of their proposals:

  • Proposal: EL Professional Learning Community
    Team Members: Michael Broschart from Teach for America, Alexa Brunton from New England Basecamp, and Maureen Rooney, an elementary ESL teacher from Providence Public Schools
    Summary: This project would pilot a year-long professional learning community and mentorship cycle for new teachers of English-language learners.
  • Proposal: Supporting ESL Teachers Using Calibrated Videos of Practice
    Team Members: Kelly Donnell from Roger Williams University; Theresa DeRiso, an ELA teacher in Lincoln Public Schools; Liz Russillo, a teacher at Smithfield High School; and Alicia Storey, the assistant superintendent for Westerly Public Schools
    Summary: This project would determine “power standards” for Teachers of English as a Second Language (TESOL). The project would then create a bank of calibrated videos and accompanying feedback that differentiates between practice that approaches and meets the standards to be used as professional learning with clinical supervisors and teachers.

To learn more about the Ed Prep Design Challenge, go to http://www.innovate.ri.gov/teacherprep.