The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has awarded $1.5 million to fund model clinical programs for teacher preparation in Kentucky. The three programs seek to improve the effectiveness of how universities provide teacher training.

The recipients include:

•Eastern Kentucky University, in partnership with Corbin Independent school district

•University of Louisville, in partnership with Jefferson County school district

•Western Kentucky University (WKU), in partnership with Bowling Green Independent school district and Simpson County school district

The recipients were chosen through a competitive process.

Each partnership will receive $500,000 from an appropriation from the General Assembly to support the implementation of Senate Bill 1 (2009).

“Investing in Kentucky’s future and current teachers is one of the best investments we can make to move the education needle,” said Aaron Thompson, the council’s senior vice president.

The partnerships will focus on developing clinical models that aim to improve P-12 student and teacher education candidate learning, facilitate the placement of teacher candidates in model P-12 settings and provide professional development for pre-service and practicing teachers.

“The new teacher mentor program is a ‘win-win,’ offering a powerful model that allows future teachers to be more embedded in the school, becoming more involved in the whole high school experience,” said Bowling Green High School Principal Gary Fields, who will work closely with the Teacher Mentor Program at WKU. “Both the WKU students and the Bowling Green High School teachers will benefit from the partnership that allows more collaboration between high schools and universities.”

A guiding Blue Ribbon Panel report, Transforming Teacher Education through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers, was issued in 2011 by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The report calls for dramatically different models and strategies for preparing teachers in clinical settings, including more rigorous accountability, strengthening candidate selection and placement, revamping curriculum and incentives and staffing. Other strategies include supporting partnerships and expanding the knowledge base.

Kentucky’s Education Professional Standards Board endorsed the NCATE report recommendations in 2011and voted to become a state partner in NCATE’s Alliance for clinical-based models. With this agreement, Kentucky became the 10th state in the nation to support this effort.