The partnership was made possible by a $900,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation.
The University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation National Center (US PREP) will join with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) on a three-year project to transform and strengthen UAPB's teacher preparation program. The addition of UAPB was made possible by a $900,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation.
The center, housed in Texas Tech University's College of Education, will assist UAPB in attracting, training and retaining high-quality, racially diverse teachers for communities that have historically been underserved.
“We are excited to welcome the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to the US PREP coalition, which is committed to disrupting inequities in PK-12 districts by renewing teacher preparation programs,” said Sarah Beal, executive director of US PREP. “The ultimate goal is to positively impact students by building teacher candidate competency to meet all students where they are and advance their learning by giving them what they need.”
Institutions of higher education that partner with US PREP commit to renewing their teacher-preparation programs by implementing rigorous quality objectives aligned to the US PREP Developmental Framework and rooted in evidence-based practices. Over a three-year transformation process, universities pilot, refine and scale the quality objectives across all teacher-preparation pathways and programs. Partner universities also work closely with nearby school districts to build teacher-talent pipelines that cater to the districts' specific needs.
“I'm excited about the possibilities of solutions and answers to questions afforded to UAPB through its relationship with US PREP,” said Wanda Newell, interim dean of the School of Education at UAPB. “US PREP offers collective genius and active wisdom from people on the frontline, doing the work of preparing highly qualified preservice teachers. Who could ask for more?”
The addition of UAPB brings US PREP's total number of partnerships to 22 and marks the center's first expansion into Arkansas. The list of partners stretches from coast to coast, including higher education institutions and school districts in Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York and Oregon.
Before joining the coalition, UAPB was vetted during a rigorous three-month interview and selection process that included the submission of an application and baseline performance data, faculty and leader interviews and discussions with teacher educators, administrators and all key leaders within the partnership.
US PREP was founded in 2015 and serves more than 5,000 teacher candidates per year, with transformation of teacher-preparation programs at most institutions typically taking 3-4 years. Educators who complete the training program are prepared to work in diverse classrooms and have a three-year retention rate of 88%.
To learn more about US PREP, visit its website.