School of Education receives grant to improve teacher training | Pittwire
The University of Pittsburgh School of Education received a $ 2 million grant from the McElhattan Foundation to develop a new model of teaching and teacher preparation programs in colleges and universities.
As part of the program, interested students from two Pittsburgh area school districts, the Woodland Hills School District and the Pittsburgh Public School Teaching Academy Magnet at Brashear High School, will participate in well-known study groups. under the name of “micro-collectives”. These groups will remain small, at five people: a Pitt student in teacher training, an undergrad, a high school student, a serving teacher, and an experienced black educator. There will be eight micro-collectives during each year of the project, which will start this summer and run until June 2025.
Each member of the micro-collective plays an important role in the “Practices of Freedom: A Model for Transformative Teaching and Teacher Training” project, which aims to rebuild the teaching pipeline for black teachers and educators.
“Micro-collectives will tap into the deep wells of knowledge that people bring to where they are in an experiential way,” said Sabina Vaught, professor at Pitt Education and principal investigator of the project. “What is the deep well that a high school student will bring to the micro-collective that will support the learning of a teacher in training?” What is the deep well of knowledge that an experienced educator will bring who will then be in dialogue with what others bring? ”
The experienced black educators of the micro-collective will come from educational backgrounds both in and beyond schools. They will participate through an existing project proposed by Pitt’s Urban education center (SIGNAL). At the heart of the project is the interconnected training of pre-service teachers, particularly black pre-service teachers, as well as the infusion and extension of black educational practices across all teaching faculties.
The project will also fund undergraduate scholarships and graduate student assistantships, as well as support for the Lunch and Learn CUE series, which is part of the transformation agenda. The project will also integrate the CUE Heinz Fellows program.
“Pitt’s initiative is truly bold and we are delighted to support this work,” said Lesley Carlin, executive director of the McElhattan Foundation. “By grounding the practice of preparing teachers for social justice and vital black knowledge traditions, the project team will change the dialogue about how best to prepare educators for the future of learning.”
Members of the micro-collective will also be invited to participate in seminars on freedom developed by Vaught and offered by the School of Education. These single credit courses focus on a range of projects, exploring both the “what” and the “how” of freedom through the lore traditions of the insurgents.
In addition, community programs sponsored by the school PittEd Justice Collective and Office of the Associate Dean for Equity and Justice, will include webinars, seminars, reading groups and equity conversations.
Overall, the new initiative aims to reinvent the preparation of teacher training, according to the project’s principal researchers. Valerie Kinloch, Dean Renée and Richard Goldman of Pitt Education; T. Elon Dancy II, Associate Dean for Equity and Justice, Helen Faison Chair in Urban Education and Executive Director of the Center for Urban Education; and Vaught, who is also the first chair of the Department of Teaching, Learning and Leadership. Funding comes from the Pittsburgh-based company McElhattan FoundationThe Grants Initiative for Expanding the Diversity of Educators.
“We understand that schools of education are the gateway to the teaching profession,” said Kinloch. “Focusing on freedom and transformation will allow us to think differently about teaching and training teachers, who they are and what they can become. Freedom allows us to truly engage in the work of equity and justice instead of just focusing on inclusion and never going beyond inclusion to achieve transformation.
Ultimately, it is hoped that the project will serve as a model that can be adapted for use in other places and communities in the United States and around the world.
“It’s not just a next step. It’s a whole different way of thinking about what it means to do schooling and education, ”said Vaught. “Big problems require a big imagination and big, well-studied experiments. We deeply appreciate the foundation’s support to do truly transformative work at the local level that can potentially have a global impact. “
The Pitt Education project aims to increase the number of black teachers in training and service and to transform teacher education programs.
In Pennsylvania, there is a great disparity in the racial identities of teachers and students in public schools from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Statewide, white teachers make up 94% of all teachers in K-12 schools, while only 64% of students are white. Teachers of color make up only 6% of the total teacher population, of which 4% are black teachers. The same is true in the United States, where in K-12 schools there are significantly more white teachers (80%) than white students (46%).
“In addition, one of the most important study results we bring research to the project that found that students viewed black female teachers more favorably. This discovery increases the urgency to learn from the knowledge of black women, who are suppressed by anti-darkness and misogyny systems, ”said Dancy.