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University-District Partnerships: Linking Graduate Reading Programs to Professional Development for Impact on K-12 Reading Achievement.
Unformatted Document Text:  Section I: ContentA. Statement of Issue The 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) requires schools to employ “highly qualified teachers” in every classroom. The law states that teachers in schools that received Title I funds should have been highly qualified in 2004, and all teachers in every public school must meet “highly qualified” criteria by 2005-06 (Rothman, 2004). The criteria for being a “highly qualified” teacher include having full state certification and no waivers for teaching out of field. Graduate education is an essential area of focus in order to assist districts meet the goal of having highly qualified teachers in every public school classroom by 2005-06 (Boehner, 2003). University-district partnerships are critical in developing quality programs that reflect the realities of classrooms today. While not new, partnerships that extend into graduate education programs are more infrequent than institutes or other projects that end within months of beginning. More long-term approaches to professional development integrated within graduate coursework are needed for long-term impact, as well as the improvement of teaching and learning.B. Literature Review Teacher education programs offered at institutions of higher education (IHEs) are often not directly related to the challenges faced by graduate students (teachers) in our public schools (Diez & Blackwell, 2001). An analysis of National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and The Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) requirements for professional development documentation reveals that both entities emphasize such activities take place in a community school setting (Dudzinski, Roszmann-Millican, and Shank, 2000). The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE, 1991; 1996; 1997) also suggests that IHE faculty should create partnerships with local schools. While university/district partnerships are becoming more common, an analysis of one university’s involvement with its community found most partnerships focused on community-based collaboration, including curricular enrichment programs (i.e., high school students doing independent studies), community support (i.e., consulting services, reduced tuition), school- related health and social services, school-to-work, mentoring and/or tutoring programs (Kirschenbaum & Reagan, 2001). Graduate teacher education programs based on partnerships that supervise candidates in public classrooms are not commonly found (Blackwell & Diez, 1998, 1999). These partnerships offer realistic classroom contexts for teachers while under the supervision of university faculty. It is the principle of teaching hospitals in the field of medicine, it is important to combine teaching and learning in a clinical setting (Patterson, 2000). Teachers who graduate from programs that are grounded in teaching experiences with faculty supervision are better equipped to face the challenges of public schools because these programs reflect current needs found in K-12 classrooms. In the authors’ experiences, teachers in programs directly linked with their classroom needs are more likely to make changes in their practice, implementing research-based methods that have been discussed in classrooms. Such partnership programs also generally empower and prepare teachers to assume leadership roles with the expectation that they will guide other professionals in developing and implementing curriculum It is therefore essential that graduate programs seek to prepare highly qualified teachers by offering supervised field experiences that go beyond “field work” or “practica” to supervised applications of what is taught in graduate courses. A couple possible partnership models that go beyond

Authors: Pazos-Rego, Ana Maria. and Avalos, Mary.
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Section I: Content
A. Statement of Issue
The 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No
Child Left Behind) requires schools to employ “highly qualified teachers” in every
classroom. The law states that teachers in schools that received Title I funds should have
been highly qualified in 2004, and all teachers in every public school must meet “highly
qualified” criteria by 2005-06 (Rothman, 2004). The criteria for being a “highly
qualified” teacher include having full state certification and no waivers for teaching out
of field. Graduate education is an essential area of focus in order to assist districts meet
the goal of having highly qualified teachers in every public school classroom by 2005-06
(Boehner, 2003). University-district partnerships are critical in developing quality
programs that reflect the realities of classrooms today. While not new, partnerships that
extend into graduate education programs are more infrequent than institutes or other
projects that end within months of beginning. More long-term approaches to professional
development integrated within graduate coursework are needed for long-term impact, as
well as the improvement of teaching and learning.
B. Literature Review
Teacher education programs offered at institutions of higher education (IHEs) are
often not directly related to the challenges faced by graduate students (teachers) in our
public schools (Diez & Blackwell, 2001). An analysis of National Board of Professional
Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and The Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support
Consortium (INTASC) requirements for professional development documentation reveals
that both entities emphasize such activities take place in a community school setting
(Dudzinski, Roszmann-Millican, and Shank, 2000). The National Council for
Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE, 1991; 1996; 1997) also suggests that IHE
faculty should create partnerships with local schools. While university/district
partnerships are becoming more common, an analysis of one university’s involvement
with its community found most partnerships focused on community-based collaboration,
including curricular enrichment programs (i.e., high school students doing independent
studies), community support (i.e., consulting services, reduced tuition), school- related
health and social services, school-to-work, mentoring and/or tutoring programs
(Kirschenbaum & Reagan, 2001).
Graduate teacher education programs based on partnerships that supervise
candidates in public classrooms are not commonly found (Blackwell & Diez, 1998,
1999). These partnerships offer realistic classroom contexts for teachers while under the
supervision of university faculty. It is the principle of teaching hospitals in the field of
medicine, it is important to combine teaching and learning in a clinical setting (Patterson,
2000). Teachers who graduate from programs that are grounded in teaching experiences
with faculty supervision are better equipped to face the challenges of public schools
because these programs reflect current needs found in K-12 classrooms. In the authors’
experiences, teachers in programs directly linked with their classroom needs are more
likely to make changes in their practice, implementing research-based methods that have
been discussed in classrooms. Such partnership programs also generally empower and
prepare teachers to assume leadership roles with the expectation that they will guide other
professionals in developing and implementing curriculum It is therefore essential that
graduate programs seek to prepare highly qualified teachers by offering supervised field
experiences that go beyond “field work” or “practica” to supervised applications of what
is taught in graduate courses. A couple possible partnership models that go beyond


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