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Midwest Alliance to Improve Teacher Preparation

Download the alliance’s overview handout [141 KB PDF icon ]

Partnership Facilitator

Dan Frederking
dfrederking@air.org

Research Liaison

Natalya Gnedko-Berry
ngnedko-berry@air.org

Partnership Objective

Research has found that the biggest in-school factor in strengthening student achievement is teacher quality. However, declining enrollment in preparation programs and low retention in the profession have led to teacher shortages, meaning schools must rely on less qualified candidates to fill some teaching positions. This gap in access to effective teachers highlights the importance of understanding current trends and the challenges associated with recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers.

The REL Midwest Alliance to Improve Teacher Preparation (MAITP) leverages existing data on education preparation providers to explore teacher preparation models, study relationships between existing models and teacher and student outcomes, and examine the implementation of changes in state policy across the Midwest. MAITP’s primary focus is teacher preparation in Michigan. In addition, a community of practice connects key stakeholders across the region and is an active partner in the research process.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has worked to address the quality of the state’s education preparation providers. In recent years, the state has focused on continuous improvement of teacher preparation and the use of accountability as a lever to improve the quality of the teacher pipeline. MDE’s underlying assumption is that if motivated, well-trained teachers have opportunities for growth, collaboration, and leadership, then student learning will improve.

Members

  • Rajeshri Bhatia, Grand Valley State University
  • Douglas Braschler, Hope College
  • Leah Breen, Michigan Department of Education
  • Corey Drake, Michigan State University
  • Paul Helder, Michigan Education Association
  • Betty Kirby, Central Michigan University
  • Sarah-Kate LaVan, Michigan Department of Education
  • Jason Mellema, Ingham County Intermediate School District
  • Laura Moellering, Choice Schools Associates
  • Emily Pohlonski, Novi Community School District

Training, Coaching, and Technical Support Projects

Coaching on Tools for Michigan School Districts to Develop an Effective, Stable Teaching Workforce

Although districts in Michigan have a wealth of policies, practices, and supports aimed at teacher recruitment and retention, they do not currently have a systematic way of taking stock of existing offerings and assessing their effectiveness. To address this need, REL Midwest is conducting a coaching project with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and other stakeholders to develop two tools: (1) a needs assessment that districts can use to take stock of existing programs for teacher recruitment and retention, and (2) a survey that MDE and districts will administer to gather teachers’ perspectives on the usefulness of existing supports. Using information gathered through these tools, districts can make decisions about which programs they should maintain, discontinue, or introduce.

Developing a System for Reporting Outcomes of Michigan Educator Preparation Institutions

MDE would like to better understand outcomes associated with educator preparation institutions to develop and sustain a high-quality teaching workforce. REL Midwest is coaching MDE Office of Educator Excellence staff to help develop an MDE-run system for regular reporting of the outcomes of 35 state-based educator preparation institutions offering 84 teaching programs.

Using State Data to Address Questions About Illinois’ Teacher Workforce

In late 2017, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) asked its staff to engage in “a year of inquiry” on the status of Illinois’ teacher workforce. To help fulfill this request, REL Midwest is coaching ISBE staff through the process of identifying and refining research questions, identifying data sources and analytic methods to address each research question, collecting and preparing data for analysis, and analyzing data and reporting findings. As a result of this project, ISBE will have access to research-based information for policymaking, and ISBE staff will have a process for completing this reporting annually.

Exploring the Potential of Clinically Oriented Teacher Preparation Programs for Michigan

The Michigan Department of Education and REL Midwest conducted a two-part training to explore the potential of clinically oriented teacher preparation programs, or teacher residencies, in Michigan. During in-person sessions, higher education and K–12 representatives from across Michigan came together to learn about teacher residencies and to identify opportunities for potential partnerships between the higher education and K–12 sectors. REL Midwest generated a training handout that describes characteristics of successful clinically oriented teacher preparation programs, and profiles 10 of these programs throughout the United States, including two in Michigan.

Works in Progress

Teachers Who Do Not Teach: Who Are They and What Would Motivate Their Return to Teaching?

In Michigan, public school students’ access to effective teachers is hindered by teacher shortages in rural and urban regions of the state and in certain subjects. Yet the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) estimates that approximately 105,000 teacher certificate holders who currently reside in Michigan do not teach. This study is providing MDE with information about the characteristics of nonteaching certificate holders, their reasons for leaving or never entering the teaching profession, and the incentives that could encourage them to enter or reenter the profession.

Characteristics of and Outcomes for Students who Pursued an Education Major in Indiana’s Teacher Preparation Programs

The study is describing the characteristics of students who enrolled in Indiana’s teacher preparation institutions and examining the extent to which they persisted in and graduated from a teacher preparation program, entered into teaching, and succeeded in Indiana’s public schools.

Examining Teacher Shortage and Surplus in Michigan

This study will examine existing teacher-, school-, and district-level data from school years 2008/09 to 2015/16 to describe patterns and trends in the supply and demand of teachers and teacher shortage and surplus in public schools in Michigan. In addition, the study will project teacher shortage and surplus in Michigan during the next five years.