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Southwest Teacher Preparation and Professional Development Research Partnership

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Louisiana, like many states, faces significant challenges ensuring qualified teachers for all subjects, particularly in schools serving the highest concentrations of low-income households. To address this challenge, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) has launched Believe and Prepare, a statewide teacher residency program. REL Southwest is working with LDOE and other partners to provide research-based evidence on the program.


  • Examine the Louisiana Believe and Prepare program’s relationship to teacher outcomes, such as teacher retention, mobility, and effectiveness.
  • Support the continuous improvement of the Believe and Prepare program’s implementation.


Robyn Madison-Harris, Partnership Facilitator Ginger Stoker photo
Partnership Facilitator Partnership Research Lead
Robyn Madison-Harris Ginger Stoker


  • Nicole Bono, Chief of Staff, Educator Development, Louisiana Department of Education
  • Laura Boudreaux, Director of Research and Data Privacy, Louisiana Department of Education
  • Em Cooper, Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Educator Development, Louisiana Department of Education
  • Torey Hayward, Director of Teacher Leadership Development, Office of Teaching and Learning, Louisiana Department of Education
  • James Madden, Professor of Mathematics, Louisiana State University
  • Peter Sheppard, Professor and Head of the Department of Educational Curriculum and Instruction, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Training, Coaching, and Technical Support

  • Believe and Prepare Principal and Mentor Teacher Survey Data Analysis and Use Coaching: Louisiana Department of Education
    In 2016, in response to a long-standing teacher shortage in the state, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) established the Believe and Prepare teacher residency program. In summer 2019, REL Southwest worked with LDOE to develop and pilot surveys of resident teachers, mentor teachers, and principals participating in the Believe and Prepare program. To help LDOE evaluate the results of the 2019 pilot of the Believe and Prepare surveys, REL Southwest is conducting a quality review of the survey item data and a psychometric analysis of the proposed scales during a three-session coaching project. The coaching sessions have three main goals: (1) evaluate and revise items in the three Believe and Prepare survey instruments, if necessary, based on the REL-provided scale validation and single-item review; (2) help LDOE plan for the 2020 survey administration based on LDOE pilot experiences; and (3) work with LDOE on the analysis plan of the 2020 data, including variables or links to existing data to support nonresponse bias analysis and subgroup comparisons.

Applied Research Studies: Works in Progress

  • Outcomes of the Louisiana Believe and Prepare Educator Preparation Program
    The Louisiana Department of Education is seeking systematic evidence regarding the effects of the state’s Believe and Prepare teacher residency program. This initiative is designed to strengthen preservice teacher experiences by providing yearlong residencies under the guidance of a certified mentor teacher, emphasizing competency-based teacher preparation curricula, and setting standards for mentor development and certification. In this study, REL Southwest researchers will compare teacher and student outcomes for teacher candidates who were prepared before and after adoption of Believe and Prepare requirements. The study will include the 18 institutions of higher education that offered traditional undergraduate educator preparation programs in Louisiana in 2012/13 through 2019/20. The research team also will examine mechanisms through which the Believe and Prepare program may have influenced outcomes, including potential changes to teacher content knowledge, the school placement of early career teachers, and mentor attributes. Findings from this study will provide the Louisiana Department of Education and teacher preparation providers with evidence about whether Believe and Prepare is working as intended and more broadly, inform educators and policymakers about the benefits of teacher residencies and the types of preservice experiences encompassed in Believe and Prepare. View the Data Management Plan.

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