Partnership Development to Connect High School Students to a Teaching Career
A shared vision of “growing our own” future teachers who represent the diversity of local children and families results from intentionally developed high school, community organization, community college and university partnerships. The enactment of a common vision that is supportive of recruitment activities of underrepresented students in the teaching profession in a Careers in Education course is one strong rationale for the formation of college – school district partnerships. Collaborative strategic planning among the high school, broader community and higher education institutions which build structures that keep future teachers dreams alive include skill building processes that embed college advising, visits to universities, financial aid and scholarship awards as part of the high school program.
What Five Essentials Should High School Administrators Consider for Both Internal and External Partnerships?
1) Connect the teacher academy course to a broader purpose of
- Producing a more diverse group of future teachers and
- Improving P-12 education through effective course field experiences (with tutoring and service learning experiences aligned with the Careers in Education course).
Encouraging deep school district partnerships with elementary school field sites, community college and university teacher preparation programs will support meeting both the current P-12 academic achievement goals and the future workforce needs of the district.
2) Active engagement of key partners should explore the questions
- What roles and responsibilities will we each have?
- Why do we want to participate and what do we each need to keep our engagement going?
CTE courses are required to have advisory groups. Be sure the Careers in Education course takes advantage of interested university faculty, local non-profit groups and other education professionals who can advance the goals of the program. In some areas, consortiums of multiple higher education partners make work easier to accomplish.
3) How will a commitment of moving from educational ‘theory to practice’ in a meaningful introduction to teaching, promote sharing decisions to create learning laboratory opportunities for high school students?
Engage elementary principals and teachers by learning their tutoring and service learning needs and align the course field experiences with actual district needs to promote participation.
4) How will you ensure partnerships are a collaborative process of opening opportunities of a career in education to high school students? Is a written agreement needed between partner institutions? When and how often will you commit to periodic evaluation of the program data and outcomes?
5) What are the ways you will identify how the program will develop an identity that has positive status among high school students?
Tacoma Public Schools, for example, has successfully branded their teacher academy program as “TEACH 253” with T-shirts and an attractive logo enthusiastically adopted by the high school students in the program.
Teacher academy programs focusing on building intentional partnerships between teacher preparation programs, community colleges, high schools and community based organizations are noted in this section. The purpose of the partnerships are to support high school students, many who are underrepresented in the teaching profession, to prepare to graduate from high school, apply and attend college and to become certified teachers. Examples of 2013-2014 academic year partnerships are:
Renton SD Partners – 2007-2017: Central Washington University (primary school of education partner), University of Washington (DREAM Project student mentors), Highline Community College, Renton Technical College, Green River Community College (Project Teach), Phi Dleta Kappa – Future Educators of America, Renton High School, Renton Teacher Academy Foundation, and many local businesses and the families of the enrolled students.
Burlington Edison SD – Latinos in Action Partners – 2009-2017: Skagit Valley College and the Maestro Para El Pueblo project, and Western Washington University, Woodring College of Education. Community partners include: Opportunities Industrialization Center, SEAMAR, Association for Washington School Principals, and Centro De Padres. District internal partnerships supporting student field experiences are with West View and Allen Elementary Schools.
Mount Vernon SD – 2012-2017: Skagit Valley College and the Maestro Para El Pueblo project and Western Washington University, Woodring College of Education. The district internal partnerships supporting student field experiences include the School Counseling department, the district and high school Administrative Leadership Teams.
Tacoma Public Schools – TEACH 253 – 2012-2017: Pierce College, Pacific Lutheran University (primary school of education partner), University of Puget Sound (UPS), University of Washington -Tacoma (UW-T), Northwest Leadership Foundation, Lincoln and Mt. Tahoma High School teachers, the director of AVID (a school success program) and various district teachers and administrators.
Research Snapshot of Promising Supports for College Persistence
A primary goal of CTE – Careers in Education programs is producing more post-high school success in both careers and life. When connecting students to higher education opportunities, consider these research based recommendations for what most students will need to make a successful college transition.
Financial Aid: Students who enter college with sufficient financial aid and or resources are more likely to have consistent academic progress without interruptions (Goldrick-Rab, 2010: Mundell, 2008)2.
Contextualized Learning: Learning from the great success of Washington’s I-BEST programs, RWT graduates who need pre-college coursework in basic areas of English and Math should have those courses linked and integrated with their career goals in education. This might include linked courses (e.g., English plus Introduction to Education) or connecting assignments to real world settings such as writing about schooling or educational issues (Jenkins, Jaggars & Roksa, 2009)3.
Learning Communities: Mini-cohorts of students taking multiple courses together may encourage persistence, support and graduation as it clearly does in the RWT high school programs. Future teacher learning communities need to emphasize academic not remedial pathways (Bunch,et al, 2011)4. Using student culture and language knowledge and skills as resources should continue in the early college years (Guitierrez & Orellana, 20065; Kibler, Bunch & Endris, 2011)6.
Advising and Promoting Student Success with Consistent Professional Relationships: Students need a continuation of the positive impacts of having a consistent relationship with the same advisors over time in order to promote informed decision making in the first two years of college. Issues ranging from advising on time management, handling complex life issues and course selection to discussions of limitations on work hours to allow for adequate study time are cited in the literature as necessary for student persistence in the first years in college (Scrivener & Weiss, 2009)7.
1 Goldrick-Rab, S. (2010). Challenges and opportunities for improving community college students success. Review of Educational Research, 80(3), 437-469. AERA.
2 Mundel, D. (2008). What do we know about the impact of grants to college students? In S. Baum, M. McPherson, & P. Steele (Eds.), The effectiveness of student aid policies: What research tells us. 9-38. New York: NY: The College Board.
3 Jenkins, D., Jaggars, S. & Roksa, J. (2009). Promoting gatekeeper course success among community college students needing remediation. New York, NY: CCRC.
4 Bunch, G., Endris, A., Panayotova, D., Romero, M. & Llosa, L. (2011). Mapping the terrain: Language testing and placement for US-educated language minority students in California’s community college system. Report prepared for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
5 Guitierrez, K. & Orellana, M. (2006). The “problem” of English learners: Constructing genres of difference. Research in the Teaching of English, 40, 502-507.
6 Kibler, A, Bunch, G. & Endris, A. (2011). Community college practices for US-educated language minority students: A resource-oriented framework, Bilingual Research Journal 34(2), 201-222.
7 Scrivener, S. & Weiss, M. (2009). More Guidance, better results? New York, MY: MDRC.