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Published July 10, 2020
This fall will see entering elementary education students begin their journey toward becoming career-ready teachers under the new UW-E4 educator preparation model that is reshaping University of Wyoming College of Education programs.
UW-E4, the centerpiece of the UW Trustees Education Initiative (TEI), is designed to attract more educators into the field; ensure they are better prepared; enhance opportunities for student teaching and other clinical field placements; and offer early-career professional support.
The initial implementation of the four E’s of the UW-E4 model and other TEI innovations in 2020 will bring changes for UW -- and high school -- students and partners throughout the state.
(E1) Career Exploration
Seven Wyoming high schools will be the first to participate in the Teacher Cadet pilot program, which combines coursework and co-curricular activities to give students a jump-start on careers in education. The initial cadre of high school and community college faculty and advisers were trained and certified in June.
UW-E4 Director Curtis Biggs applauds the career and technical education team at the Wyoming Department of Education saying, “They were instrumental in launching the pilot and have been fabulous partners.”
(E2) Experiential Learning
Whether it’s observing experienced teachers in a school setting or using the Mursion augmented reality program to teach avatar students, UW elementary teacher candidates will get more field experiences under UW-E4 starting earlier and with an early grounding in professional ethics.
(E3) Embedded Practice
Three years ago, student teaching was limited to nine Wyoming districts in the spring semester. Students now have more options, and more schools are getting the student teachers they want.
UW student teachers started last spring in 27 Wyoming districts, and there were 11 out-of-state and six international placements. A yearlong internship in Albany County School District 1 is planned for 2020-21, culminating in opportunities for mentor-supported, fully paid teaching.
TEI also is supporting classroom teachers who supervise, assess and mentor UW student teachers. New online training modules will be introduced in fall 2020 to guide K-12 mentor teachers in best practices for supervising and co-teaching.
Seven UW faculty and staff members this year became certified trainers in the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), a research-based tool that helps observers provide consistent, uniform scoring of observations of student teachers. CLASS is one of four tools in the Common Indicators System (CIS) compiled by the national organization Deans for Impact.
(E4) Entry into the Profession
Are new teachers from UW effective? The CIS survey tools were launched this year to collect UW College of Education baseline data. Students will complete surveys to gather their perceptions early in the teacher preparation program, before student teaching and at the end of their first year of teaching. Another survey collects feedback from principals who employ recent UW graduates.
“The primary purpose of these CIS tools is to determine the readiness of UW early-program students to enter K-12 classrooms and to measure the effectiveness of the UW teacher preparation program in preparing classroom teachers,” says TEI Managing Director Colby Gull.
Administrators and faculty leaders will use the newly acquired data to seek insights into teacher candidate development and guide program improvement.
From Change to Impact
Another College of Education initiative under TEI is the Wyoming Early Childhood Outreach Network. Launched in 2019, it brings evidence-based professional learning to early childhood educators.
Former UW College of Education Dean and TEI Executive Director Ray Reutzel says the progress of the initiative over the last year has made TEI an asset to the entire PK-20 educational landscape in Wyoming.