SOE News

School of Education part of new initiative to advance teacher and principal preparation

The School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is among 15 educator preparation programs to serve as a founding program partner of a new initiative aimed at helping improve educator preparation.

The Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab), an initiative led by the Learning Policy Institute and Bank Street Graduate School of Education, is intended to help educator preparation programs ensure that new teachers and leaders enter classrooms able to provide K-12 students with the kind of education that helps them develop “deeper learning” skills like critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and the ability to apply knowledge in a range of contexts.

Research shows that teachers are the No. 1 in-school factor affecting student outcomes and principals are number two. One important metric for those outcomes is how well students are able to navigate our increasingly global and technologically complex world, where “deeper learning” skills are crucial to success.

EdPrepLab brings together 15 of the nation’s leading teacher and principal preparation programs to collaborate on developing models for preparation that equip educators for deeper learning and that can be replicated at other programs across the nation. The initiative will also support research to improve preparation programs and work with policymakers at federal, state, and local levels to help encourage the use of research-based practices that ensure new teachers and school leaders are well-equipped to provide students with a whole child education and to build the next generation of equitable schools.

“Our world has changed significantly since the U.S. education system was first developed and students today need an education that supports and prepares them for that more diverse, technology-driven, knowledge-based society,” said Learning Policy Institute President Linda Darling-Hammond.

“That means we need to prepare teachers and school leaders to provide this kind of education,” she said. “Fortunately, we have research to guide the way. There is a wealth of new knowledge about the science of learning and development, how social and emotional skills support academic learning, and how to ensure that students really understand what they have learned.”

Diana Lys, assistant dean of educator preparation and accreditation for the School of Education, said: “We are honored to be a founding partner at the inaugural convening of EdPrepLab, united with such highly regarded educator preparation programs from across the nation. We are committed to preparing the teachers and school leaders who model embrace these principles as they create supportive, safe and engaging learning environments for students.”

New science on learning and development shows that deeper learning requires a different approach to educator preparation than commonly available. Working individually and in groups, these programs will develop and share curricula, practices, and syllabi aimed at ensuring their graduates can

  • Create conditions for learning that reflect an understanding of child and adolescent development and the science of learning;
  • Develop and implement curricular designs and instructional strategies that motivate and engage students in higher-order thinking and equip graduates with 21st century skills and competencies;
  • Understand their own social and emotional competencies, model them for students, and build practices that integrate social, emotional, and cognitive skill building with academic content;
  • Create structures that reach beyond the classroom to provide systems of academic, social, and emotional support, including personalized supports that address students’ needs and the impacts of adversity; and
  • Be equity-focused and responsive to the needs of diverse learners.

The initiative will be co-led by Learning Policy Institute, a national institute focused on conducting and disseminating research to improve education policy and practice, and Bank Street Graduate School of Education, a recognized leader in teacher and principal preparation and the development of innovative education practices. Over time, EdPrepLab will increase the number of participating educator preparation programs in the network, inviting schools to apply to participate.

“Responsive relationships are at the heart of all learning. The EdPrepLab network will integrate the latest research about how our brains develop and respond to learning environments to strengthen teacher preparation policy and practice,” said Bank Street College President Shael Polakow-Suransky, GSE ’00. “We have urgent work to do to ensure every child in this country is supported by educators who know them well and are ready to respond to their developmental needs.”

EdPrepLab’s work is, in part, informed by a new book, Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning, by Linda Darling-Hammond, Jeannie Oakes, Steven Wojcikiewicz, Maria Hyler, Roneeta Guha, Anne Podolsky, Tara Kini, Channa Cook-Harvey, Charmaine Jackson Mercer, and Akeelah Harrell. In the book, the authors examine the teacher preparation model of Bank Street Graduate School of Education, as well as the models at six of the programs now among the founding programs of EdPrepLab.

The other EdPrepLab founding educator preparation programs: Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI; Bank Street College, NY; High Tech High, San Diego, CA; Montclair State University, NJ; San Francisco Teacher Residency (San Francisco United School District, Stanford University and University San Francisco); Trinity University, San Antonio, TX; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Chicago Teacher Residency, IL; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Colorado, Denver; University of Illinois, Chicago; University of Washington; and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

Learn more about EdPrepLab at https://edpreplab.org/