The Texas Education Agency recognized the program, which began in 2011, at a meeting in Austin last week.
An innovative teacher preparation program at Texas Tech University was recognized in Austin for its focus on quality of teaching and teacher preparation satisfaction.
Tech Teach, which the College of Education introduced five years ago under the direction of Dean Scott Ridley, was chosen after a weeklong visit from Texas Education Agency (TEA) officials during the spring semester. Ridley, program director Doug Hamman and associate professor of education Fanni Coward received the recognition prior to the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) meeting on Aug. 4 in Austin.
Tim Miller, head of TEA Educator Preparation Quality Assurance, presented the recognition.
“Tim and several TEA staff members told us they wanted to highlight our program so all educator preparation providers will know about Tech Teach, ‘be jealous' and adopt similar methods and high standards,” Ridley said.
In offering the recognition, TEA officials said Texas Tech has exceeded the SBEC minimum standards to provide outstanding preparation for teacher candidates and highlighted national achievements, such as being identified as a national model by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and winning a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support other teacher preparation programs through the U.S. PREP National Center.
Tech Teach puts teacher candidates into the classroom for a year and requires 275 hours of field-based experiences. SBEC requires 12 weeks of clinical teaching and 30 hours of field-based experiences. Tech Teach also created partnerships with school districts to share data and allow university and district administrators to work more closely and ensure needs are being met. Professors observe teaching through web cameras and score teacher candidates on a competency-based rubric to make adjustments to teaching in real time.
Although the program has not been around long enough to provide extensive data, both first-year teachers and administrators in the school districts that hire graduates say they are much more prepared under Tech Teach than other educator preparation programs.
The College of Education also reaches hundreds of students throughout the state with the Tech Teach Across Texas, a district-based immersion teacher prep program that allows teacher candidates to take courses online and work in the local school districts with intensive and ongoing clinical coaching from the site coordinator, who is a district-based Texas Tech faculty member. Other professors also observe from a distance and offer immediate feedback via technology.