Strategies for Collaboration with Local School Districts
Involve teachers from local schools districts in the design and operation of your teaching preparation programs. This will give you a strong cohort of teachers to work with, and make them feel invested in your program.
- Arizona reports that “involving secondary science teachers in the initial design of the program has paid huge dividends in their buy-in and willingness to work with our students. They express a sense of ownership in the program and in the next generation of science teachers.”
- The UTeach program at the University of Texas at Austin relies heavily on its cadre of cooperating teachers, who host future teachers in elementary, middle, and high school classes.
Use K-12 professional development workshops and other outreach efforts into local schools as opportunities to make connections with local physics teachers. Outreach efforts are great for recruiting teachers to supervise your early teaching experiences, and possibly even for recruiting a Teacher-in-Residence.
- A Western Michigan TIR worked with district administrators to help develop professional development opportunities for in-service teachers to meet new state guidelines. In addition, he organized bi-monthly meetings that included both in-service and pre-service teachers (see Teacher Advisory Group). Both activities helped the university establish excellent connections with the local teaching community.
- Seattle Pacific faculty have been working with several school districts, offering professional development workshops and collecting content assessment data from their students. They report that the workshops “provide a context for building relationships with experienced local teachers who can serve as supervising teachers for PhysTEC teachers.”
- The University of Minnesota School of Physics and Astronomy has a long tradition of outreach to local K-12 school districts, through their Physics Force demonstrations and other programs. The school has already hired two teachers who have worked with the program to serve as TIRs (one for this year and one for next year), and now they are planning to use their outreach programs to recruit future teachers as well.
Develop relationships with local two-year colleges. Two-year colleges are a nearly untapped source of potential future teachers. A Ball State TIR from a local two-year college developed a two-year physics major program from which students could transfer to a four-year program at Ball State.
Form a Teacher Advisory Group.