PRINCETON, N.J., Aug. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As the next phase in its bold national effort to dramatically improve teacher preparation and to help teaching and learning practices evolve for the future, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation announced that its Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning has received informal approval from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to offer an initial, post-baccalaureate license for middle and secondary school teachers in biology, chemistry, and math.
In 2015, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation revealed its plans to develop competency-based master's degree programs in teaching and school leadership, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The WW Academy remains on track to name its first cohort of Fellows for the 2017–18 academic year.
"A year ago, we announced plans to chart a new course in educator preparation, one focused on what aspiring teachers know and are able to do," Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine said. "Working with MIT, our efforts in competency and curriculum development, licensure and accreditation, strategic partnerships, program development, and fundraising have made great strides. The Woodrow Wilson Academy will open its doors to its first class in 2017."
Draft Competencies Developed, Challenge-Based Curriculum Established
WW Academy has developed its competencies for beginning teachers. Specific content knowledge competencies have been built for biology, chemistry, and mathematics. Competencies are currently under review by teacher educators, subject-matter experts, and K–12 teachers.
The competencies are the basis of an interactive, challenge-based curriculum designed to ensure prospective teachers can demonstrate both what they have learned and how they use it in a classroom setting. MIT has been an integral part of developing and prototyping the WW Academy "Challenge" model.
As part of its efforts, MIT has also been developing a suite of teacher education-focused games and simulations for the Academy. It is also helping to build the technology infrastructure on which the entire WW Academy program will be offered.
Initial School District Partnerships Established
To ensure a robust clinical experience for all students enrolling in the graduate program, the WW Academy has established strategic partnerships with five local school districts in Massachusetts—Burlington, Cambridge, Natick, Revere, and Somerville. In addition to providing classroom-based experiences to WW Academy students, each of the districts has identified exemplary STEM teachers to participate in the WW Academy effort.
In-Service PD Efforts Accelerated
In its 2015 announcement, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation noted its intention to develop in-service teacher programs and micro-credentialing opportunities based on its competency-based approach. Following strong urging from education leaders, the Foundation has decided to accelerate PD development, launching an effort concurrent with graduate program development. These offerings, also part of the MIT collaboration, will be developed as inaugural projects in the Walter Buckley Teaching and Learning Lab, which will serve as an incubator and innovation lab, studying what works and why in preparing teachers and education leaders, and offering new ideas and models to meet the needs of 21st-century schools.
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SOURCE Woodrow Wilson Foundation