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Partnerships

Effective partnerships between education preparation providers (EPPs) and districts are an important component of the department’s strategic plan to strengthen educator development. In 2014, The State Board of Education (SBE) revised the Educator Preparation Policy 5.504 to require EPPs to develop formalized partnership agreements with their district partners. These partnership agreements detail how they will collaborate to ensure that candidates meet the district needs (demographic and skill-specific) and how educator candidates will participate in high-quality clinical experiences.

In 2017, the department released Preparation through Partnership: Strengthening Tennessee’s New Teacher Pipeline, a report that compares the demand for teachers to the supply of teachers with particular subject-area specializations and the effectiveness and confidence with which new teachers enter the classroom. In the report, the department also explores the state’s role in educator preparation and provides a series of recommendations for districts and EPPs to collaboratively support this work going forward.

Primary and State-Recognized Partnership Agreement Tools

The following partnership agreement tools and guidelines are now available for EPP use when executing partnership agreements with school districts:

Partnerships Overview – A summary of expectations for the two types of EPP-LEA partnership agreements.

Primary Partnership Agreement – Establishes how an EPP and primary partner district will collaboratively engage to meet key partnership expectations. EPPs must have a primary partnership agreement with at least one district where candidates are placed for any portion of their clinical experience.

State-recognized Partnership Agreement – Establishes the roles and responsibilities of EPP faculty and district staff regarding the delivery of candidate support and evaluation. EPPs must have a state-recognized partnership agreement with all districts where educator candidates are placed for any portion of their clinical experience if there is not a current primary partnership agreement.

State-Recognized Partnership Agreement Guidance - This document includes information related to the purpose, submission process, document storage, and annual review processes of state-recognized partnership agreements.

Primary Partnership Agreement Planning Template – EPPs and primary partner districts may use this template to document the collaborative activities conducted as a part of partnership planning.

PPA Screening Tool - EPPs and LEAs may use this screening and planning tool when conducting their annual PPA review or while monitoring for continuous improvement efforts.

State-Recognized Partnership Agreement Screening Tool - EPPs and LEAs may use this screening and planning tool when conducting their annual SRPA review or while monitoring continuous improvement efforts.

Contact Educator.Preparation@tn.gov with questions related to primary and state-recognized partnership agreements.

Out-of-State Educator Preparation Partnership Agreements

The State Board of Education (SBE) Educator Preparation Rule (0520-02-04) allows educator preparation providers (EPPs) approved to recommend teacher candidates for initial licensure in a state other than Tennessee and place these candidates in Tennessee school districts to complete job-embedded clinical practice. The provider and district must have a partnership agreement that is formally recognized by the Tennessee Department of Education. Per Educator Preparation Policy (5.504) job-embedded clinical practice allows for candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree to serve as teacher of record for the full school year (occupational programs may have different degree/certification requirements). At least 100 days of the job-embedded clinical practice must include direct teaching experiences. Prior to beginning a job-embedded clinical practice, candidates must have a valid Tennessee teaching license with the appropriate endorsement(s).

Initial teacher licensure candidates seeking to complete job-embedded clinical practice in Tennessee through an out-of-state EPP that has a recognized partnership agreement may qualify for licensure if they:

1. receive a recommendation from a provider approved for licensure in a state other than Tennessee; and

2. submit qualifying scores on all required content assessments for licensure in Tennessee.

Qualifying scores on the specialty area content assessment(s) are required prior to obtaining the practitioner license and qualifying scores on the appropriate ETS Principles of Learning and Teaching assessment or edTPperformance-based subject specific assessment are required prior to renewal or advancement of the practitioner license. Tennessee approved assessment and qualifying scores can be found in the Professional Assessments for Tennessee Educators Policy (5.105). Tennessee does not accept other states' assessment scores in place of qualifying sores on the required assessments.

To receive department recognition, the EPP must submit a complete and signed Out-of-State Partnership Agreement form to the office of educator licensure and preparation (OELP) for review at least thirty days prior to the start of the clinical practice. The term of the agreement may not exceed three years.

Out-of-state partnership agreements are only permitted for candidates seeking an initial-level teacher license through a job-embedded clinical experience. The job-embedded option for clinical practice is not permitted for candidates in other educator preparation programs (e.g., school services personnel, instructional leaders), who must complete all program and licensure requirements prior to initial issuance.  

Out-of-state providers partnering with Tennessee school districts to prepare teacher candidates, school services personnel, and instructional leaders with clinical practice that is not job-embedded (e.g. student teaching, internship) are not required to submit partnership agreements to the department for recognition. Tennessee school districts may complete a memorandum of agreement or district partnership agreement; however, such agreements do not require department review and approval.

Questions regarding out-of-state partnership agreements may be directed to Educator.Preparation@tn.gov.