Educator Prep Fellowship & Design Challenge


Too often, education preparation and K-12 education efforts are siloed--with the great learnings from one sector not transferring well to the other. For our system to work optimally, the two must be true partners, with innovations in K-12 immediately and directly informing the efforts of educator preparation (and vice versa!). This is where the Ed Prep Fellowship and Design Challenge come in.

During 2018, the RI Office of Innovation, in partnership with the RI Department of Education, supported two concurrent efforts to help spur innovation in educator prep and better connect our two teammates. 

Ed Prep Design Fellowship

First: We worked with a cohort of 18 RI K-12 education leaders, from superintendents to classroom educators, who served as peer mentors for and ambassadors between education preparation programs and K-12 schools and districts. 

Catalyst Speaker Series

Second: We hosted a Catalyst Speaker Series with our prep programs, showcasing innovative practices from across the country around educator diversity, data usage, and more to seed new ideas and support innovations in our current prep programs.

Ed Prep Design Challenge

In the summer of 2018, we brought those efforts together through an Ed Prep Design Challenge. The Design Challenge partnered Ed Prep Program leaders with our K-12 Ed Prep Design Fellows and led them through a design sprint to create workable pilot solutions to tangible and pressing issues in Rhode Island educator preparation.

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Overall, we had nine educator preparation programs in Rhode Island participate and—after a rigorous vetting process—we selected two teams to bring their pilot projects to life. Each team received $15,000 to pilot their work.

CHALLenge winners

Teach For America / Providence Public Schools:

More and more students in Providence Public Schools require English language learning supports, yet too few educators are trained in how to provide them. This project is piloting a short but intensive summer “bootcamp” for TFA corps members on how to best support EL students. Knowing that a one-and-done training is not enough, the pilot is also partnering new TFA corps members with veteran ELL educators for monthly observations and mentorship opportunities through the 2019-20 school year. If the program is successful, TFA and PPSD have plans to scale it to support educators across the district. Stay tuned for more information on how this pilot project is progressing!

Roger Williams University:

The RWU team—supported by its Ed Prep Design fellows—identified a gap and need in supporting ELL candidates: There are over 50 TESOL standards, making it difficult to ensure that candidates are getting targeted supports where they need them most. This project supported RWU “learning facilitators” in a rigorous process to determine “power standards” for teachers of English language learners. They then used video analysis and calibration to determine the most important areas of focus for their candidates and used this knowledge to amend mentoring, teaching, and other interventions necessary to ensure all their candidates are best prepared to teach EL students. Check out the wrap up video from RWU on their work during the 2018-19 school year (below)! Or reach out to Kelly Donnell, head of the project, to talk more about their work!