The Bush Foundation launched the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative in 2009, with the goal of preparing and placing 25,000 new, effective teachers in schools by 2020. The Foundation partnered with 14 institutions of higher education in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota that provide teacher preparation programs. The initiative aims to increase K–12 teachers' quality and effectiveness, and thereby improve students’ educational achievement.
The 14 teacher preparation programs organize improvement efforts around five key pillars: recruitment, preparation, employment, support, and use of data to measure performance and inform change.
In 2014, the Foundation wanted to reflect on progress and challenges and use findings to refine its work and partnerships.
We designed and implemented an evaluation method to:
- Document what occurred since the institutions began the Initiative.
- Refine current operations and future work of the Initiative.
- Identify lessons for other Bush Foundation programs and the field of teacher preparation.
We designed an evaluation that improved communication with partners and assessed their work around the five key pillars. Our approach made use of a variety of qualitative, participatory methods, including:
- Semi-structured interviews with project leads from each teacher preparation program.
- Focus groups with faculty and staff at all teacher preparation programs and the Initiative’s working groups.
- Online focus groups with students enrolled in teacher preparation programs, recent graduates employed as teachers, cooperating teachers supervising student teachers and school district administrators.
Our work provided important insights for both the Bush Foundation and the 14 institutional partners involved in the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative. The lessons learned helped inform systems within the teacher preparation field and provide a clear roadmap for grantees to adopt in the future. Thanks to the findings, our partners now:
- Have an accurate, real-time picture of the Initiative’s progress midway through its duration.
- Are able to identify, based on reliable data, changes among the teacher preparation programs.
- Are equipped with best practices to strengthen the Initiative’s ongoing sustainability and impact.
View the full report here: http://bit.ly/BushTEReport