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Master Educator Competency Program:

Building Professional Development and Continuing Support in Rural Education

The University of Wyoming College of Education recently launched the Master Educator Competency Program (MECP), which aims to address teacher attrition while developing in-depth support systems across Wyoming’s K-12 communities. The University of Wyoming seeks to be responsive to Wyoming’s priorities by bringing the university to communities across the state with the implementation of this program, which is currently being funded by the University of Wyoming College of Education along with grant funding from the Daniels Fund. 

The goal of MECP is to create a set of knowledges and skills that Wyoming’s teachers tell us they need most to better prepare students for a rapidly changing world. During the developmental phase of the competencies currently underway, a cross-curricular team of University faculty will be traveling throughout Wyoming in September and October to hold 3-hour listening sessions with scores of educators to begin building locally designed, community-based learning modules. These learning modules will shape the competencies teachers will embody after completing the program while answering the question: “What knowledge and skills do you need to better prepare your students for a rapidly changing world?” Dr. Neil Theobald previously conducted 32 interviews over six weeks in July and August where he listened directly to Wyoming’s parents, business owners, and community leaders to hear their perspectives on how to effectively sustain the teacher workforce in Wyoming.

In November and December, the College of Education will utilize the information gathered during these interviews and visioning sessions to review its current learning experience in an effort to better reflect the challenges faced by Wyoming’s local communities and develop the competencies that Wyoming’s teachers tell us they need most. “Better coherence between teacher knowledge, skills, and community realities should increase retention of high performing K-12 teachers in Wyoming’s classrooms,” said Dr. Neil Theobald.

Throughout MECP, Wyoming K-12 teachers will engage with uniquely designed learning modules that develop identified knowledges and skills. “We are honing in on teacher retention and attrition in rural areas by addressing a primary cause that teachers are mismatched with district needs. Lack of support and professional learning drive departure from the field of education. Collaboratively with the districts, we can develop what is needed to support master teachers. We are utilizing the outcomes of the listening sessions from those local districts to design a uniquely centered product that will address the issue through competency-based micro-learning experiences that are contextual and adaptive,” said Dr. Mia Williams.  The learning modules are designed with local needs in mind and will not only strengthen identified needs but will also uplift thriving teacher competencies that support students. These modules will not be utilizing Canvas or the face-to-face concept, but rather will be an adaptive, accessible, and interactive learning experience with AI enhancements. The program will also tap into metrics-based learning to accompany the metacognitive, AI adaptive learning platform. 

Dr. William Cain elaborated on the software that UW College of Education will be implementing to house the content for MECP, “The learning management platform that MECP will be using is actually owned by a partner of 2Revolutions, the company that is consulting on the project. That whole system, along with the metacognitive/adaptive learning feature, is owned by a 3rd party, i.e., not something that we here at UW College of Education are developing in-house. We will ultimately be responsible for developing the content for MECP modules, but not the software.”

Master Educator Competency Program Graphic

Figure 1: This graphic depicts the timeline of the Master Educator Competency Program.

With teacher attrition and statewide school shortages at the forefront of the education discussion, this program aims to strengthen and support that early career phase using existing competencies, skills, and knowledge. The Wyoming School-University Partnership holds a unique position in regards to facilitating conversation between districts and the College of Education, and we plan to collaborate on and boost the success of MECP through all phases of development. These phases include the following:

  • Focusing on teacher's perspectives on how Wyoming can more effectively sustain the teacher workforce.
  • Identifying the knowledges and skill Wyoming teachers need to better prepare students for a rapidly changing world by generating a set of competencies.
  • Collaborating on pilot testing of the learning modules.

“Historically speaking, this is the type of project that the Partnership was created to collaborate on. WSUP holds the unique position of bringing together practitioners and stakeholders within the education community into one entity to collaborate and I believe this is at the core of what school-university partnerships are intended to facilitate,” said Dr. Neil Theobald. 

Contact Us

McWhinnie Hall, Room 213

Dept. 3374, 1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-3274


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