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LPSS and UL Lafayette Are Awarded a $200,000 Grant for Teacher Preparation

The Louisiana Department of Education has awarded the Lafayette Parish School System $200,000 to partner with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in order to develop innovations in teacher preparation. According to State Department officials the Believe and Prepare Educator Grant will help districts “develop mentor teachers, create year-long residencies for aspiring teachers, and increase the number of Special Education teachers.” Lafayette’s grant award is one of 45 grants to be awarded in Louisiana this year. Department Officials say that “Through this cohort alone, approximately 500 teacher candidates are estimated to enter year-long residencies during the 2016-2017 school year, and more than 500 mentor teachers will be identified and trained this school year to support those residents. Grant recipients will collaborate with [earlier] cohorts to develop tools, resources, and guides enabling the success of new partnerships.”

Dr. Peter Sheppard, the Department Chair for UL Lafayette’s Curriculum and Instruction Department describes the program:

 The Collaborative for the Apprenticeship of Acadiana Area Prospective Teachers (CA^3PT), a joint venture between UL Lafayette and LPSS, seeks to restructure the culminating clinical experience for prospective teachers, thereby advancing their maturation into learner-ready teachers. Accordingly, the CA^3PT project will seek to accelerate prospective educators’ process of becoming learner-ready through a more-intensive year-long student teaching experience anchored in the co-teaching model, supported by high caliber mentor teachers, and cooperatively designed by LPSS and UL Lafayette. Phase I of the project requires a minimum 90 clock hours of sustained co-teaching experiences under the tutelage of a teacher leader or identified highly effective teacher while Phase II, an all day full semester residency experience, continues with a more concentrated co-teaching approach under the apprenticeship of the same teacher from Phase I.  This method places clinical practice at the center of teacher preparation and authentically engages teacher candidates in the actual practice of teaching all without compromising the pedagogical and content rigor already embedded in UL Lafayette’s teacher preparation curricula. LPSS will be responsible for identifying 30 mentor teachers to take part in the project that is expected to impact a minimum of 30 UL teacher candidates beginning spring 2016.

This partnership between UL Lafayette and the Lafayette Parish School System is one example of the many collaborative efforts between the two entities.