Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Boren, assessment program manager for the College of Education at New Mexico State University, was among a select group of people from New Mexico to attend a conference, hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and learn about innovations in teacher preparation programs.
The conference, “Reimagining Teacher Preparation Together,” took place Oct. 2-4 at the foundation headquarters in Seattle. The New Mexico Department of Education selected Boren to represent New Mexico, along with a university dean, a superintendent, the New Mexico Public Education Department educator preparation program manager, and the director of educator quality at NMPED.
“The convening was a wonderful opportunity to learn about new tools and methods that institutions and state education departments can utilize to address common challenges faced by teacher preparation programs across the country,” Boren said. “NMSU has great teacher education programs, having been recently given full accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. However, we will benefit from what was presented at the convening as we continuously seek ways to improve what we do and maximize our impact. I am excited to begin to implement much of what I learned at NMSU and am hopeful at other institutions across the state as well.”
The conference focused on fostering large-scale, sustainable improvements among teacher preparation programs through building teacher candidate competency via practice; using data for continuous improvement; ensuring teaching educators are effective in preparing novice teachers; and responding to K-12 school systems and the communities they serve. Participants were placed in cross-regional, cross-role learning teams to plan how to implement their learning in their home communities.
“We are quite proud, but not surprised, that Dr. Rachel Boren was selected to represent New Mexico at the Gates Foundation conference by the New Mexico Public Education Department,” said Betsy Cahill, co-director of the School of Teacher Preparation, Administration, and Leadership at NMSU. “We rely on her expertise to assist faculty with all projects related to the assessment of student learning and academic program review. She provides guidance to the state with the creation of systems to ensure improvement of teacher preparation programs and documentation of meeting accreditation and state approval standards.”
According to the Gates Foundation, the need to train new, effective teachers and leaders is particularly pronounced in communities with schools that serve black, Latino, and low-income students, where there are often higher numbers of inexperienced teachers and teachers who turn over in higher percentages, and better-prepared teachers are more than twice as likely to remain in the classroom.
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the U.S., it seeks to ensure that all people – especially those with the fewest resources – have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.