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Guiding Principles for Strengthening Teacher Preparation Adopted by State Board of Education

Educator Preparation Advisory Council Submits Interim Report Focused on Reforming Connecticut Teacher Preparation Programs

The State Board of Education today adopted the Educator Preparation Advisory Council’s (EPAC) recommendations outlining six principles for guiding the development of a framework for reforming educator preparation programs. An initiative of the State Department of Education in partnership with the Board of Regents for Higher Education, EPAC was formed by the State Board of Education at the request of Governor Dannel P. Malloy to study and make recommendations regarding educator preparation. The six aforementioned principles were accompanied by specific examples for further review and consideration.

“We need to ensure that the next generation of educators is optimally prepared for Connecticut’s 21st century classrooms,” said Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor. “The principles adopted today involve key steps forward in such areas as establishing rigorous entry and completion standards, ensuring quality clinical experiences, strengthening district/university partnerships, and assessing preparation program effectiveness. We look forward to fleshing out this framework and creating a preparation system that raises the bar for teaching candidates, positions teachers for success in the classroom, and holds preparation programs accountable for their results. Thank you to the many stakeholders who worked so vigorously, collaboratively, and successfully throughout the EPAC process to date.”

"Working together with educators and other stakeholders to ensure we are equipping our future teachers with the skills and experiences necessary to teach our children the skills they need to compete in a 21st century economy is critical,” said Interim President of the Board of Regents for Higher Education Philip E. Austin. “Groups like EPAC, which help to connect the dots between how we train our teachers, and how they in turn teach our children, ensure that we are having this important conversation across agencies, institutions, and professions."

As the body responsible for the approval of education preparation programs in Connecticut, the State Board of Education's adoption of the six principles presented by EPAC will raise the bar and result in improved coherence for educator preparation programs across the state. Specifically, the principles provide a framework for future policy and will guide reforms to educator preparation program content and structure. The framework addresses multiple elements of a preparation program, including but not limited to higher selection standards; expectations for training and clinical experiences; development of new partnerships between preparation programs and school districts; and consideration of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for graduates to meet the needs of Connecticut schools and students.

The six principles are as follows:

  • Program Entry Standards
    Connecticut teacher preparation programs must actively recruit, admit, develop and retain only those teacher candidates with strong knowledge, skills, dispositions that are indicative of those expected of teachers for the 21st Century and required to meet the needs of Connecticut students.
  • Staffing and Support of Clinical Experiences
    The staffing, structures and program support policies of preparation programs, school districts and CSDE must be coordinated to provide effective clinical experiences that represent the current and future needs of Connecticut’s schools and children. Clinical faculty (supervisors) and school based educators have a significant impact on candidate clinical experiences and must be effective educators who understand and apply national and state teaching and student standards.
  • Clinical Experience Requirements for Teacher Candidates
    All candidates must have a sequence of varied, structured, intensive and purposefully supported clinical school experiences that are appropriately staffed by qualified educators to ensure support for success. Experiences must be across the program, coordinated and support the continuum of content and skill development to become an effective educator. (Note: clinical experiences include field experiences, practica, and student teaching.)
  • District-Program Partnerships; Structures & Shared Responsibility
    Teacher preparation programs and schools/districts must have well-defined, high-quality, collaborative partnerships to ensure the quality of clinical experiences for teacher candidates while addressing the needs of and benefits to all involved. Teacher preparation programs and school districts will develop strategic partnerships to support clinical and school-based training for which they share responsibility, authority, and accountability including program development and implementation.
  • Program Completion & Candidate Assessment Standards
    Candidates will demonstrate competencies aligned with national and state standards by successfully completing rigorous performance-based assessments as part of clinical experiences. All teacher candidates will demonstrate dispositions and skills necessary to support students’ academic and non-academic needs.
  • Program Effectiveness & Accountability
    Preparing a teacher to be successful and effective in the field is the shared responsibility of preparation program and partner districts. Preparation programs must ultimately be responsible for ensuring completers enter the profession with the skills, knowledge and dispositions to be effective in the classroom. Preparation programs must have access to data about their completers’ performance in the classroom and should be held accountable for their programs’ effectiveness in preparing teachers to enter and remain in the profession.

See attached chart (pdf) for the laying out of the above principles along with two other columns of information: examples for further review and consideration as well as national perspective.

In March 2012, the State Board of Education authorized the establishment of EPAC and charged the group with advising the Board about developing a system for the approval, quality, regulation, and oversight of educator preparation programs. The full council is composed of representatives of higher education and school districts, as well as representatives from educational stakeholder groups, including, but not limited to, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, the Connecticut Association of Schools, the Connecticut Federation of School Administrators, the Connecticut Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers-Connecticut.

View Attached Chart (pdf)

For more information, please contact:
Leigh Appleby