NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Just months after Tennessee State University was ranked the highest producer of teachers among HBCUs in the nation, the university’s teacher preparation program has received yet another boost.
It has been awarded a grant to ensure a strong and vibrant new teacher pipeline for the future.
Out of 18 applicants, TSU was one of only four institutions in the state, designated as Education Preparation Programs, to receive the 2017 Tennessee Innovation in Preparation award, or TIP.
TIP grants, awarded by the Tennessee Department of Education, are designed to support an increase in the development of a diverse educator workforce, an increase in the production of educators in high-demand licensure areas, and promote collaboration to improve educator preparation in literacy.
TSU and the other three winning institutions will equally share $200,000 to design and implement individual projects to meet the TIP requirements.
“We are really excited for this grant, and to be one of only four selected in the state, is an honor,” said Dr. Clara Young, chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning, who, along with two other professors in the College of Education, wrote the winning proposal for TSU.
Dr. Nicole Arrighi, associate professor; and Dr. Kisha Bryan, assistant professor, both in the Department of Teaching and Learning, along with Young, will spearhead the TSU project called English Language Acquisition through Technology and Teacher Education or ELATTE.
According to Young, ELATTE is a four-month “comprehensive professional development” summer institute for 15 pre-service teachers and 20 recent secondary education graduates from TSU.
“The goal is to produce 6-12 content area teachers who have a strong foundation of English as a second language, theory, knowledge of technology tool for second language acquisition and professional practice with a diverse population of English learners,” Young said.
TSU has remained a major supplier of well-trained teachers not only for the Davidson County and Metro Nashville Public Schools, but school districts across the nation.
In July, TSU was ranked as the No. 1 producer of teachers among historically black colleges and universities in the nation. HBCU Lifestyle, which published the ranking, noted that TSU’s undergraduate and graduate offerings and concentrations in biology, chemistry and elementary education made the school’s teacher preparation program more attractive.
The ranking did not surprise Baris Johnson, a TSU graduate who teaches general music and band to 5th-8th graders at East Nashville Manget Middle School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education, and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from TSU.
“With the kind of rigorous curriculum students go through, TSU deserves to be at the top,” said Johnson. “In just my first year of teaching, I have done so well. The number one ranking … shows how hard the faculty and staff work.”
Arrighi said the grant offers an opportunity for English language practitioners to leverage technology in a manner that supports today’s digital learners.
“We know that students are more tech-savvy than ever before,” she said. “Therefore, we want to strategically enhance their EL (English language) instructional competencies through digital tools.”
Bryan said the project will contribute to partnerships with MNPS.
“Our shared goal has always been to prepare highly qualified teachers to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population,” Bryan said. “We hope that this intensive summer program might be a model for other Educator Preparation Programs in Tennessee.”
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.