A recently announced five-year, $5 million competitive grant from the federal Teacher Quality Partnership program is set to benefit the St. Charles Parish Public School System by focusing on measures to increase new teacher recruitment and retention.
“This partnership will create high expectations for new teachers and supports for teacher candidates in a yearlong residency,” Dr. Ken Oertling, superintendent of St. Charles Parish Public Schools, said. “This will be followed by induction support in their first years of teaching.”
Dr. Joshua H. Barnett, CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, recently announced that NIET will partner with Southeastern Louisiana University for the program. The TQP grant will support the recruitment and preparation of new teachers, including increasing the number of teachers from underrepresented populations.
Organizers said the project responds to the urgent need for well-prepared new teachers in each of the partner districts and will address shortages of classroom teachers in underserved schools.
“The Building Rigorous Induction and Development for Growing all Educators partnership brings together the second largest teacher preparation program in Louisiana, three high-need school districts, and the non-profit National Institute for Excellence in Teaching,” a press release stated. “Together the partners will prepare new teachers in a year-long residency and support them through high-quality induction in their first two years of teaching. District partners include Tangipahoa Parish School System and St. Charles Parish Public Schools, with one additional local school district selected over the course of the project. This innovative partnership builds on NIET’s two decades of work to strengthen classroom teaching in Louisiana.”
According to the press release, the partnership will result in the preparation of 375 more effectively trained, highly supported and diverse new teachers over five years, and increase the instructional leadership skills and knowledge of 150 mentor teachers who will support them.
“We are excited to work with Southeastern and our district partners to train mentor teachers as part of the solution for retaining and developing new teachers,” Barnett said. “Teacher leadership is a proven strategy for supporting new teachers by providing timely, relevant and actionable guidance for their continued growth and improvement.”
Dr. Paula S. Calderon, Dean of the College of Education at Southeastern, said BRIDGE will prepare teachers in shortage areas identified by districts.
“By partnering with school districts, the BRIDGE project will support beginning teachers beyond graduation,” she said. “In doing so, we will help districts to retain qualified teachers beyond the three-to-five-year lifespan of a new teacher.”