Continuous Development: A new model for teacher preparation in California?

For years, California has attempted to reform its teacher preparation programs to better prepare new teachers for the classroom. Alternative routes have popped up to offer aspiring teachers, in many cases, a less expensive and faster route to teaching. The state’s extensive performance exams for teacher candidates have served as a model for the rest of the nation.

Now, a teacher preparation program in California is pledging career-long support to its graduates. On Thursday, the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education launched a free helpline for its 25,000 alumni that will connect struggling graduates with a “rapid response team” of nine full-time faculty members.  That team will diagnose problems, build individual plans for alumni, and offer solutions that range from site visits, to coaching, to professional development resources.

Karen Gallagher, dean of the Rossier School of Education, said the initiative will help assess the effectiveness of graduates and ensure that the school is producing quality teachers. “We think this is an innovative initiative to address what is a nationwide issue about teacher ed,” Gallagher said. (Read more here)

While Teacher Preparation programs across the country are looking to revamp and improve their guidelines and practices, innovative and unique ideas are continuing to crop up. The above example is just one of the many ways that those in the field are beginning to rethink their approach to traditional teacher prep. We’ll keep highlighting ideas that we think are unique and innovative, but which we also feel might be able to move the needle in terms of student achievement. Post-graduate support for alumni in the classroom is one such idea.