UofM Will Transform Teacher Preparation Program With Gates Foundation Funds

November 30, 2015 - The University of Memphis College of Education will transform its teacher preparation program with funding from the University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation (U.S. PREP) consortium, a recipient of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant.

The Gates Foundation will commit $34.7 million over three years to five newly-formed Teacher Preparation Transformation Centers that will bring together higher education institutions, teacher-preparation providers and K-12 school systems to share data, knowledge and best practices. These cooperatives will develop effective teacher-preparation practices to help ensure that more teacher-candidates graduate ready to improve student outcomes in K-12 public schools.

The UofM is one of the partner universities in the U.S. PREP consortium headed by Texas Tech University. The U.S. PREP coalition also includes Southern Methodist University, the University of Houston, Southeastern Louisiana University and Jackson State University.

"The partnership enables the UoM to collaborate with universities implementing similar changes," said Dr. Ernest Rakow, interim dean of the College of Education. "The U.S. PREP coalition offers both a system of support and a space to learn from each other as we all strive to enhance our pre-service teacher education programs and prepare teachers who are culturally relevant, classroom ready and prepared to work in the communities the University serves and beyond."

Dr. Heidi A. Ramirez, Shelby County Schools chief academic officer, said, "Shelby County Schools is very excited by our expanding partnership with the University of Memphis. This collaboration offers great promise as we continue working to ensure every student has access to effective teachers and is prepared for college and career success."

The Gates grant will transform the way the University of Memphis trains teachers, building upon the success of the existing Ready2Teach initiative. The University and its U.S. PREP partners will focus on common key drivers: building competency through practice, a commitment to continuous improvement, effective teacher educators, and robust partnerships with K-12 school systems and the communities they serve.

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey