School Partner Network
Schools and Teacher Educators Working Closely Together
The TERI Partner Network is comprised of over 300 individuals from seven school districts who have engaged in events, site meetings, task groups, curriculum teams, and professional development offered since January 2010 as part of the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative (TERI) at the University of Minnesota.
The Network provides a shared space where all educators—school- based and University-based—focus on improving learning and engagement for P-12 learners while mentoring new teachers into the profession. The Network continues to expand as more school faculty and members of district central offices engage with TERI activities.
Our approach in developing district partnerships has been to identify districts that share an affinity for redesigning teacher education that is closely aligned with clinical practice. Potential professional development schools (PDSs) and clinical cluster sites (CCSs) were identified in consultation with district leadership, school site administration, teachers, and University faculty based on these criteria:
- Willingness to work together in new ways to best serve students’ learning
- Commitment to whole school professional development
- Strong, stable principal and leadership
- Space to host teacher preparation classes and University liaisons
Formal partnerships with districts are established with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), creating a working partnership that gives both partners a stake in the relationship. Once the district agreements are established, Scope of Work Agreements (SOWA) are created in conversation with site teams at schools.
Multiple Paths for Partnership
Professional Development Schools and Clinical Cluster Sites
We have adopted a Professional Development School (PDS) model to create and renew school and district partnerships with the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. According to the National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education (2001), a PDS is:
…a collaboratively planned and implemented partnership for the academic and clinical preparation of interns and the continuous professional development of both school system and institution of higher education (IHE) faculty. The focus of the PDS partnership is improved student performance through research-based teaching and learning. A PDS may involve a single or multiple schools, school systems and IHEs and may take many forms to reflect specific partnership activities and approaches to improving both teacher education and PreK-12 schools.
We stand by the premise that these partnerships must be beneficial to all partners. Our partners tell us that they are engaging with us because they:
- know their P-12 students will benefit from the expertise and resources that the University will offer from faculty across the University;
- that they trust the University for the quality of teacher preparation and teacher development that it can offer to their teachers; and
- that a partnership with the University will provide opportunities to develop the leadership and instructional practices of their faculty.
For the University, the partnerships provide high quality clinical experiences for our candidates in places where we will be able to provide ongoing support. The University will also benefit from the expertise of master teachers within our partner districts as we create opportunities to share expertise in teaching on our campus and in the PDSs. All PDS clinical experiences are coordinated in such a way that research, theory, and practice are meaningfully integrated and applied toward the goal of P-12 student learning.
A partner school is a cooperating school that provides practical learning experiences in a clinical setting.
- Single placements or small cluster schools similar to current student teaching agreements between specific initial licensure programs and schools schools
- Same placement calendar as PDSs
- No exclusive clinical placement agreement
Current Partner Districts
Representatives from six school districts have been meeting regularly since 2009 with colleagues in CEHD to clarify our vision for improved teacher preparedness, clinical experiences, performance assessments, and induction. The TERI Partner Network consists of:
- Brooklyn Center
- Columbia Heights
- Forest Lake
- Minneapolis Public Schools
- Saint Paul Public Schools
- White Bear Lake
Prospective Partner Districts
We are actively seeking new partnerships to better prepare teachers and enhance Minnesota schools.
A key element of TERI is to more closely align our work with numerous partner districts and schools to establish professional development schools (PDS) and Clinical Cluster Sites with districts whose administrative leaders who actively support CEHD-district initiatives that put P-12 learners first..
Similar to a medical residency, our teaching candidates would work in a PDS across an academic year in varying roles of increasing responsibility.
We are interested in establishing PDSs in additional districts, and we welcome conversations with district leaders to begin this process.
Coordinator, School Partner Network
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.