For Immediate Release
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July 27, 2001
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School of Education Receives Title II Grant and Expands Existing Partnerships

The School of Education at Indiana University Northwest was recently awarded a Title II K-16 Transition Partnership grant in the amount of $119,154.00 by the Indiana Professional Standards Board. The grant project focuses on the induction of new teachers into the teaching profession. To help plan and implement the induction part of the grant, the School of Education at IUN will work with area K-12 schools as partners in this project. Three of these K-12 partner schools are The School City of East Chicago, the Gary Community School Corporation, and the School City of Hammond. Each of these districts are also currently partnered with the School of Education through its Urban Teacher Education Program (UTEP) and united with districts and other universities as members of the Northwest Indiana Educational Service Center (NIESC) and its Community of Leaders Consortium. As this group of partners identifies other urban and rural school districts having large numbers of students living in poverty, they will invite them to join the partnership. 

The grant partners will develop a two-year, beginning teacher induction support system. The object of this system will be to help K-12 schools in urban and rural districts that have large numbers of students living in poverty recruit and retain teachers. As part of this program, thirty new urban and rural teachers will participate in a year-long, two semester seminar that will help them prepare a teaching portfolio. This portfolio is required of all beginning teachers in Indiana for renewal of their teaching licenses at the end of their second year of teaching. Through the creation of a portfolio and participation in the seminars, a support system for this cohort of new teachers will be developed as they share their experiences with each other and reflect on their classroom performance with peers, a teacher-in-residence, university faculty, and a NIESC portfolio mentor. 

Dr. Pam Sandoval, a principal author of the grant, is excited by the possibilities that this project offers the School of Education and its partners. "Helping new teachers experience a positive and successful beginning of their career is an important factor in their deciding to remain in teaching. With the looming teacher shortage, retaining teachers in the profession will become ever more important for schools and their students," Sandoval said.

In addition to helping its K-12 partners recruit and retain new teachers, this grant project is designed to allow the School of Education at IUN to assess its own programs in terms of how well those programs prepare new teachers. The teacher education program at IUN has identified several important skills that it expects each of its graduates to be able to demonstrate. These outcomes are contained in the nine areas of communication skills, higher-order thinking, instructional technology, learning and development, culture and diversity, design and delivery, classroom management, assessment, and professional development. As the new teachers go through the induction program, the School of Education and its partners will carefully look at the knowledge, dispositions, and performances these teachers demonstrate in their first year of teaching. By engaging the first year teachers in this project, the School of Education at IUN can evaluate the degree to which it has prepared its graduates for their first year of teaching. 

Stanley Wigle, Dean of the School of Education, pointed out the importance of self-evaluation is to teacher preparation programs. "We are being held accountable for the performance of our graduates, and rightfully so." Wigle added, "our mission is to make sure that new teachers have all of the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in helping children learn. Projects like the Title II K-16 Transition Partnership allow us to determine where are programs are effective, and where they may need to be improved." 

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