RUSTON, La. – Students and faculty from Louisiana Tech University’s College of Education recently visited several elementary and secondary school sites in Caddo Parish to advance the model for their highly successful and innovative TEAM (Teacher Educators and Mentors) clinical residency program.
The team from Louisiana Tech accepted an invitation from the Caddo Parish School System to tour more than half a dozen schools across the region and learn about the unique aspects of the campuses, meet school leaders and observe a variety of grade levels implementing best teaching practices.
One of the first stops in Caddo Parish for the TEAM administrators was Shreve Island Elementary School where Principal Glenn Colvin and his student ambassador team provided an insightful tour of the school.
“There is no more valuable training for a teacher than what they will receive in the real world classroom under the guidance of an experienced teacher,” said Colvin. “These candidates are going to be so much more prepared for the classroom because of the TEAM programs new approach to teacher preparation.”
The TEAM program is a research-based model designed by Dr. Amy Vessel and Dr. Dawn Basinger from Louisiana Tech’s College of Education, and represents a transformative redefinition of the expectations and roles of teacher educators and school mentors in the clinical experiences. It features the St. Cloud Co-Teaching Model, a TEAM evaluation system, university and district liaisons, edTPA national assessments, on-going professional development for mentors, and a collaborative university/district partnership in the development of future teachers.
“The key to the TEAM model schools continues to be clear communication and mutual respect between the university and the school district,” said Vessel. “We are delighted to work with the leadership of Caddo Parish and look forward to growing rich partnerships with each of their schools.
“Our ultimate goal is to increase quality teachers for our students throughout Louisiana as well as achieve higher retention rates of those that choose this admirable profession.”
In 2014, Louisiana Tech was the only teacher preparation program in north Louisiana to initiate the full-year clinical residency program replacing traditional student teaching. Through the 2016-2017 school year, 100 percent of elementary candidates have participated in the 3rd year of full-year clinical residencies.
Northwood High School Principal Darlene Simons said she has seen an increase in teacher candidates from Louisiana Tech over the past few years. “Our teachers and staff are excited about the transition to the TEAM model as it will allow for an even greater experience for our newest teachers.”
Vessel, who is the director of professional and clinical experiences for Louisiana Tech’s College of Education, said it’s a logical decision for the partnerships to grow into northwest Louisiana parishes as many of the teacher candidates are from there.
“We want to prepare teacher candidates at Louisiana Tech through our outstanding content and methodology coursework and support them throughout their clinical residency program closer to home,” said Vessel.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to partner with a high-quality university like Louisiana Tech to address the serious teacher shortage issue in our school system,” said Dr. Lamar Goree, superintendent of Caddo Parish Schools. “We’re excited to be able to couple practical experiences with the theoretical practices to create wonderful teachers for our children.”
Louisiana Tech expects future TEAM Model Clinical Residency Schools in Caddo Parish to include Booker T. Washington New Technology High School, Midway Professional Development School, Mooretown Professional Development School, Northwood High School, Shreve Island Elementary School, Southwood High School, Walnut Hill Elementary/Middle School, and Youree Drive Middle Advanced Placement Magnet School.