WestEd is pleased to announce the publication of a series of summary reports designed to illuminate promising practices and innovations for enhancing teacher preparation in California and beyond.

As educators and policymakers recognize a pressing, and evolving, systemic need to improve programs and resources for teacher and educator preparation, culminating findings from the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI) present a timely roadmap for addressing teacher shortages, promoting equity and excellence, ensuring teachers stay and thrive in the profession, and cultivating expertise, diversity, and more.

Launched by the California State University (CSU) system in partnership with the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, NGEI (2015–2019) sought to build the capacity of individual CSU campuses and the CSU system as a whole to collect, analyze, and use data to drive programmatic decision-making and inform transformation of teacher preparation programs. The multi-year project convened 10 CSU campuses to partner with local school districts.

WestEd summary evaluative reports showcase findings designed to guide progress in teacher education relative to several key transformative principles:

Building Strong Partnerships to Improve Clinically Oriented Teacher Preparation: Describes four key levers through which campuses and school districts participating in NGEI designed, built, and strengthened their relationships to develop more strategic partnerships and progress toward transformative goals.

Strengthening the Data Use and Continuous Improvement Capacity of Teacher Preparation Programs: Looks at how programs can expand their capacity to use data for continuous improvement by using a disciplined methodology and five primary mechanisms for achieving results — from developing new data sources to engaging the use of data as an established norm.

Strengthening the Clinical Orientation of Teacher Preparation Programs:  Identifies key levers to put high-quality clinical experience—that is, the opportunity to practice the work of teaching in classrooms—at the center of teacher preparation.

The NGEI Approach to Improving Teacher Preparation in the CSU Through a System of Supports: Presents promising practices related to balancing grant requirements with flexibility and responsive support, customizing technical assistance support to meet partnership needs, and embedding opportunities for cross-network learning and collaboration.

Throughout NGEI’s implementation, WestEd and SRI International conducted an evaluation to help support continuous improvement and to provide a summative assessment of progress. Reports deliver a comprehensive, balanced, and nuanced understanding of the critical components to effective teacher preparation, with rich explorations into topics related to using data for continuous improvement, identifying prioritized skills, implementing large-scale clinically oriented teacher preparation reform, identifying concrete tasks and goals, promoting teacher effectiveness, building campus systems for supporting improvement, and much more.

“WestEd is pleased to serve as a research and evaluation partner to support work to dramatically improve teacher preparation practices in California and beyond,” says WestEd Senior Managing Director Neal Finkelstein.

“Our summary findings from The New Generation of Educators Initiative and related research highlight considerations and practices that will significantly elevate the quality of educator preparation, and ultimately produce greater equity for students.”

WestEd will continue to disseminate findings related to NGEI, while also expanding the agency’s research portfolio related to teacher and educator workforce preparation.

Among WestEd’s other related research, a newly released report, Launching the California Teacher Residency Grant Program: Findings from Year 1 (2019/20), presents context for addressing chronic teacher shortages that disproportionately affect lower-income and students of color. The report is part of long-term efforts to meet the need for diverse, well-prepared educators in high-need areas, and showcases major learnings as California launches the largest investment in teacher residencies made by a state. Additional report findings address how COVID-19 and associated school closures impacted residencies.

WestEd is also providing continuous technical assistance and support for the Chancellor’s Office Learning Lab to Close the Diversity Gap — a CSU systemwide effort to develop teacher candidates who more closely match the demographics of the students who will be in their classrooms.

For more information on WestEd’s research and work in areas related to teacher and educator preparation and effectiveness, contact Melissa Eiler White at mwhite@wested.org.

Related resources:

Improving California’s Teacher Data System to Better Inform Decisions, September 3, 2020