Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced the creation of a new online Teachers College that provides accredited certificate, undergraduate, and graduate academic degrees for current and prospective teachers. Paige was joined at the announcement by Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt and the president of the Western Governors University (WGU), Bob Mendenhall. The Teachers College will be a part of WGU, the first online, competency-based university, which is a consortium of 19 Western states and about 40 universities.
According to Paige, the Teachers College is largely aimed at retired members of the military or professionals from outside of the education profession who want to move into the teaching field: “We need to open the classroom door to the thousands of mid-career professionals who could make excellent teachers. The Teachers College will be invaluable in that effort because a Web-based program offers working adults the flexibility to pursue standards-based course work at their own pace and schedule.”
The program not only would serve mid-career professionals coming into the field, it would also help current teachers obtain a master’s degree, and allow paraprofessionals and teacher’s aides to work toward full certification. The online catalog contains about 1,200 courses from 45 partnering institutions, including Brigham Young University, the University of Colorado, and Texas Tech University. Because courses take place online, they are accessible to teachers and other professionals who live in rural or remote areas of the country.
In September 2001, the U.S. Department of Education awarded WGU a $10 million five-year Star Schools grant to help develop and acquire educational programming for pre-service and in-service teacher education programs and to operate and maintain the existing telecommunications system of WGU.
|National Institutes in Reading Apprenticeship: Building Local Capacity for Middle and High School Reading Improvement
The Strategic Literacy Initiative (SLI) is a professional development and research program of WestEd that serves middle and high school educators, teacher leaders and teacher educators who work to increase adolescent literacy. SLI is now accepting team applications for Summer 2003 National Institutional in Reading Apprenticeship. The course is a week-long intensive experience in “Reading Apprenticeship” to teams of middle and high school teacher leaders and administrators. The program uses a framework that was developed with teams of teachers in the San Francisco Bay Area and included in SLI’s book Reading for Understanding.
SLI has found that students who are taught by teachers who participated in its program show significant gains on standardized reading comprehension tests, with the greatest gains made by English language learners. Since 1995, teachers working with SLI have taught over 90,000 middle and high school students.
For more information on the Reading Apprenticeship, visit WestEd at http://www.wested.org/stratlit/whatsNew/new.shtml