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College of Education receives funding from Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation to build educator preparation capacity

College of Education receives funding from Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation to build educator preparation capacity

Emma Carberry | December 6, 2019

Texas State’s educator preparation program has been selected to participate in the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation’s Raising Texas Teachers emerging cohort. With this designation, the program will receive $150,000 each year over a period of three years to develop systems for continuous improvement and build capacity within the program for utilizing innovative teaching strategies and building stronger partnerships with schools.
Raising Texas Teachers

The Raising Texas Teachers initiative is part of H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt’s commitment to public education in Texas. The initiative supports ten university-based teacher preparation programs, as well as an additional emerging cohort of six universities with funding for program building. After the initial three years of funding, Texas State will also be eligible to offer student scholarships through the Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers.

Texas State’s teacher education program is the largest university-based producer of teachers in the state and continues to be well-known for preparing highly qualified teachers. In a program of that size, it can be challenging to develop processes for change. Continuous reflection and change, says Dr. Patrice Werner, the College of Education’s Associate Dean for Educator Preparation and Academic Affairs, are important in a modern educator preparation program. “Things change so quickly in today’s world that if you stay static, you may become obsolete,” she says. The Raising Texas Teachers funding will allow faculty and administration to better navigate and monitor change across such a large program. Werner notes that while these change-making decisions remain faculty-driven, faculty now have a strong partner to guide these decisions and enable them to make the best use of available tools and resources.

In order to pinpoint specific strengths and areas for growth, Raise Your Hand Texas conducted an external evaluation earlier this year. Texas State program faculty then analyzed those results alongside their own internal evaluations in order to identify areas to be targeted with the Raising Texas Teachers funding. Initial potential uses include convening the college’s K-12 partner districts to gather input, conducting site visits to other universities that are also innovating in the area of teacher preparation, and providing professional development for faculty and mentor teachers in partner districts.

The first round of funding will begin in January, but Werner says Texas State’s participation in Raising Texas Teachers has already made an impact through the emerging cohort’s biannual meetings, the first of which was held this past summer. These meetings provide an opportunity for educator preparation faculty and administration to engage with other universities and to discuss best practices in the discipline. “It’s really been an enriching process of learning from each other and sharing ideas,” she says.