Published On: Tue, Feb 17th, 2015

FAU Awarded $4.3 Million Grant to Help Prepare Future Elementary Teachers

By CRA News Service

Elementary school teachers in Palm Beach and Broward could be more prepared for classroom success under a planned partnership with Florida Atlantic University.

Thanks to a $4.3 million grant from the State of Florida, FAU’s College of Education will establish a Center of Excellence for Elementary Teacher Preparation to help prepare K-5 teaching candidates in core subject matter.

“This collaboration is a tremendous opportunity for us to develop and implement a cutting-edge program that will better prepare how our future teachers learn to teach and positively impact students’ learning experience in today’s complex global society,” said Valerie Bristor, dean of FAU’s College of Education and co-principal investigator of the award.

The innovative partnership will include FAU’s College of Education, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, Learning Sciences International and the New Teacher Center. Broward County Public Schools and the School District of Palm Beach County, the sixth and the 11th largest school districts in the nation, will partner with the College of Education to enhance field experiences for undergraduate elementary education majors and better prepare k-5 teaching candidates for classroom success, according to a news release.

The grant was awarded after collaboration by all the partners led to a proposal for strengthening and enhancing the skills of teachers as well as their knowledge of core subject matter.

FAU’s Center of Excellence for Elementary Teacher Preparation will combine content, teaching and assessment strategies in university coursework with clinical experiences and measurable outcomes, officials said. The project will advance pre-service teacher training in core subject areas such as mathematics, science, social studies, and English language arts.

“We are extremely grateful to receive this award from the State of Florida, which will transform our undergraduate program so that we can continue our tradition of ongoing research and teaching excellence,” said Barbara Ridener, chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning in FAU’s College of Education and principal investigator of the award.

According to the release, the partnership will develop a strengthened, replicable, and sustainable elementary education teacher preparation program to equip novice teachers with individualized instructional competency profiles. Strengths and growth areas of the participants will be aligned with Broward and Palm Beach school district evaluations to prepare new teachers for district employment requirements.

New content courses and revised program coursework will increase candidates’ core content knowledge, and the program will focus on practice at the center of teacher preparation with approximately 832 hours of practical experience in a variety of classroom settings, according to the release.

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