Touro Takes Clinical Practice to Next Level

The Graduate School of Education Uses a Generous Grant to Scale Effective Teacher Preparation Efforts.

June 01, 2021
Ruth Best
Ruth Best

Touro GSE received a $300,000 grant to strengthen its clinical practice program in collaboration with the University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation National Center (US PREP). The grant project launched in December 2018 and will conclude in June 2021. Through the US PREP partnership, Touro GSE is a member of a coalition that develops and scales practices for preparing new teachers to succeed. This is achieved by bringing together higher education institutions, educator preparation providers, and PK-12 school systems to share data, knowledge, and best practices. The initiative is designed to develop, pilot, and scale effective teacher preparation practices to help ensure that more teacher candidates graduate ready to improve student outcomes in PK-12 public schools. 

“Touro has a long-standing partnership with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), and we were one of three universities that worked with the NYCDOE to establish a Teaching Academy. Over time, the Teaching Academy model grew and required funding support so that’s why we submitted a US PREP proposal and received the grant,” said Dr. Ruth Best, director of the Office of Clinical Practice, and principal investigator of the US PREP grant.

Touro’s enhanced clinical residency program enables its students to receive a supervisor (Clinical Site Coordinator) from the university faculty and a mentor teacher within PK-12 schools who have been trained by US PREP and appointed as Clinical Coaches and Regional Transformation Specialists on effective evaluative and coaching practices. The teacher candidates receive on-going formative feedback via walkthroughs and the POP (pre-observation, observation, and pulse observation) cycle. During the formal observation process, candidates utilize video capture to engage in self-evaluation. Feedback from both informal and formal observations is consistently provided to the teacher candidates within 48 hours and through weekly seminars. Monthly governance meetings with the school administration ensure operational coordination and partnership cohesion. To measure success, the program collects data on what teacher candidates are doing in the classroom on a daily basis during their teaching practicums in order to assess their performance throughout the semester and to encourage self-reflection for continuous improvement. This embedded process ensures effective teachers and teacher leaders.

Group photo of the participants of the US PREP partnership.“Schools of Education, like Touro, must ensure that the faculty engaged in this meaningful work feel supported to deliver meaningful clinically-based coursework. They also should receive on-going training on the importance of reflection and coaching techniques. This requires a focus on how the current internal structures of the college are designed to ensure that not only are students receiving high-quality preparation but also faculty who are supporting them are receiving high-quality professional development,” said Dr. Sarah Saltmarsh, Regional Transformation Specialist for US PREP. “We know from recent research that future teachers who graduate from programs that provide them with a high-quality clinical practice experience are more likely to build strong relationships with their students and their families, more likely to provide access to grade-level rigorous content to all students, and more likely to remain in the classroom. High-quality clinical practices focus on the partnerships with local schools to ensure each teacher candidate is placed with an effective, trained Mentor Teacher with whom they co-teach from day one in the experience.”