Tennessee Department of Education Awards Grants for Innovation in Educator Preparation

Thursday, August 24, 2017 | 09:29am

NASHVILLE— Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today that four educator preparation providers (EPPs) have been awarded a total of $200,000 in grants to design new strategies that will support the development of a diverse educator workforce, increase production of educators in high-demand licensure areas, and promote collaboration to improve educator preparation in literacy.

"In order to meet our goals as a state, we must ensure that all students have access to highly effective educators every day, in every classroom," said Commissioner McQueen. "Each region of our state is unique, and these grants will allow our educator preparation providers to meet the unique needs of the districts and schools in their backyards through innovative practices. This freedom to try something new will benefit our students by building a stronger educator workforce."

In April, the department released a report, Preparation Through Partnership, which examined the teacher supply and demand in Tennessee. The report concluded that over the next ten years, there is a projected shortfall of Tennessee educators, specifically in certain subject areas, district types, and demographic categories of teachers.

To encourage the development of innovative practices to support these specific needs, the department created the Tennessee Innovation in Preparation (TIP) grant. Governor Bill Haslam proposed the funding for the program in the 2017-18 budget approved by the General Assembly. All approved EPPs in the state were eligible to apply for these one-time grants to develop innovative practices in each of the following areas:

  • Increasing the diversity (racial, ethnic, gender) of teacher preparation candidates to better reflect the student population of Tennessee's public schools
  • Recruiting and preparing candidates in a high-needs area
  • Improving programming to increase the effectiveness of educators in literacy

Out of 18 proposals received from 12 EPPs across the state, four were selected for funding, each receiving around $50,000. The following EPPs were selected to receive TIP grants in their noted area:

  • Austin Peay State University: Teacher Demand
  • Tennessee State University: Teacher Demand
  • The University of Tennessee at Martin: Teacher Diversity
  • Lipscomb University: Teacher Effectiveness

The TIP grants are one of a number of strategies aimed at addressing Tennessee's projected educator shortfall. The department has collaborated with other state entities, including the State Board of Education and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, to align teacher preparation efforts and increase the number of highly-skilled educators entering the workforce. Details about each of the selected proposals will be forthcoming on the department's website.

For more information on the TIP grants, please contact Amy Wooten, executive director of educator licensure and preparation, at Amy.Wooten@tn.gov. For media inquiries, please contact Sara Gast, director of strategic communications and media, at Sara.Gast@tn.gov or (615) 532-6260.