The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a nearly $13 million grant to a group of New Orleans universities and non-profits to recruit, prepare, and develop nearly 900 highly-effective, culturally competent teachers from diverse backgrounds by 2020. The Supporting Effective Educator Development Grant includes $12,586,449 million (75%) from the Department of Education and will $4,195,483 (25%) in private matching funds over three years.
The project establishes a unique and innovative partnership of teacher training programs, including two New Orleans’ universities – Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) and Loyola University New Orleans – and four New Orleans education non-profits – Relay Graduate School of Education, Teach For America Greater New Orleans, teachNOLA, and New Schools for New Orleans. The partners will work together to address teacher pipeline challenges across the city, implementing their unique teacher preparation models to meet the needs of schools with high concentrations of High-Need Students while collaborating on best practices and problem-solving.
“The partnership that this award will help foster is an important step for our city,” said Dr. Renee Akbar, Chair & Associate Professor of Xavier University’s Division of Education and Counseling. Xavier University will serve as the lead convener of each of the awardees. “We will come together across the full range of ways teachers are prepared to work in our city’s schools – residencies, university programs, and alternative routes.”
Relay will recruit, prepare, and develop novice teachers over the course of the grant through the Relay Teaching Residency. In the first year of the program, residents serve as apprentice teachers, gradually taking on more responsibility as they build their skills. Successful first-year residents will transition into lead teaching roles in the second year of the program and complete their master’s in teaching at Relay New Orleans. “We’re eager to work alongside local partners to recruit and develop more great teachers for our city’s schools. Through the Relay Teaching Residency, we’re prioritizing attracting – and retaining – more talented, diverse individuals into teaching, the world’s greatest profession,” stated Jennifer Francis, Senior Dean of Relay Louisiana.
In addition to the individual organizational efforts, the partners will collaborate on specific activities to increase the number of teachers of color, enhance the cultural competency of their teachers, and participate in structured collaborations to learn from local and national experts and one another.