Teacher Quality Partnership Grant

In 2018, the Teacher Education Program at Broward College became the recipient of the prestigious Teacher Quality Partnership grant from the United States Department of Education. This five year grant provides TEP with $2.5 million in funding to assist in increasing the amount of quality, well-trained teachers within our Broward County Public School system. The grant focuses on preparing high-quality teachers in the critical shortage areas of Mathematics, Science and Exceptional Student Education (ESE). The grant also serves the purpose of igniting an interest in STEM education among middle and high school BCPS students.

"At Broward College, we have recognized the need and potential to combat this shortage in our local education system," said Dr. Marielena DeSanctis, provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs and Student Services. "As a former math and science teacher in Broward County, the receipt of this grant is particularly meaningful to me. The targeted training and mentorship components of this grant will not only serve to increase the numbers of STEM and ESE teachers but more importantly, serve to support new teachers in these critical areas to achieve student learning gains in this field. We are honored to receive this grant, which provides an opportunity to establish a new pathway to success for our students and the students of BCPS."

Goals and Objectives

Through the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Grant, Broward College seeks to address a shortage of highly effective STEM secondary school teachers by establishing the Teacher Preparation through Real-World Experience and Practice (T-PREP) Program in collaboration with Broward County Public Schools (BCPS). The Education Pathway currently prepares teachers through a traditional teacher preparation program and an alternative certification program, recruiting candidates from various industries. The T-PREP project will combine these two areas. The overarching goal of the T-PREP project is to increase secondary student achievement. This goal will be achieved through enhancements to the dynamic partnership between BC and BCPS. T-PREP will implement a high quality, rigorous, systemic, research-based program that attracts, places, and retains a highly qualified cadre of teachers capable of meeting the academic needs of students in urban high-need schools.

Recruitment

80% of BCPS high school students and mid-career changers who participate in the Education Pathway recruitment activities will take measures necessary to enroll in and pursue a program of study in education.

Teacher Prep and Residency Experience

76% of teacher candidates who complete the T-PREP residency program will become highly qualified teachers capable of meeting the needs of a diverse student population in high need schools.

Induction/ Mentoring

80% of first, second and third year teachers who participate in the T-PREP induction activities will gain a better understanding of their teaching roles and demonstrate high levels of commitment to remain in teaching.

High Quality Teaching

Each cohort of students assigned to teachers in their third year of teaching who completed the T-PREP program and are employed in a high need BCPS schools will demonstrate increased academic performance on the state assessment or End of Course exam in a STEM area.

The Teacher Preparation through Real-World Experience and Practice (T-PREP) Program focuses on recruiting, preparing, mentoring and retaining Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) majors to serve as STEM teachers for underrepresented populations using an individualized career pathway approach with a year-long intensive mentoring program. The program is part of a BC’s larger commitment to prepare highly qualified and effective teachers and to eliminate the achievement gap between minority and disadvantaged students in the local community. The primary focus of T-PREP program is to address critical teaching shortages in STEM in the high-need BCPS district, the sixth largest school district in the United States. The T-PREP program will create an individualized education pathway model to prepare 100 highly-qualified and effective STEM teachers to teach in high-need eligible schools. On a parallel path, the program will train and support a cadre of 25 teacher-mentors (expert teacher educators) to be paired with the T-PREP pre-service teachers during a yearlong mentoring program.

T-PREP is based on evidence-based concepts in place across the country, including:
Targeted recruitment and selection of prospective participants
Rigorous recruitment and support of mentor teachers
Training on the development and use of customized curriculum and differentiated Instruction
Providing deep-end support during training
Strategic hiring and continued mentoring of graduates

The Teacher Quality Partnership Grant will fund the implementation of a Professional Development (PD) mixed reality lab. The Teaching Simulation Professional Development lab will host the technology needed to implement mini-lessons using the virtual simulation environment purchased through the grant. The lab and technology will be utilized to recruit prospect students and demonstrate what teaching and learning looks like in the 21st century. Tt will be used to bring middle school and high school students from feeding school in those zip codes to engage and motivate towards STEM education. Prospect lower division students will use the lab to implement their lesson plan with the simulation as part of the coursework. Current TEP students will implement their mini lessons at the labs to increase teacher preparation quality through the simulation cycle which includes feedback from the professor and reflection. Current BCPS teachers will use the lab to attend professional development opportunities using these simulations and BC faculty will use the labs for professional development using these simulations. The lab will consist of an inflatable and portable planetarium, Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, laptops, and supporting software and technology that will enable preservice teachers to implement a highly interactive cross curricular platform for their future students. Professors will use this opportunity to inspire future teachers to learn how to have their future students travel through time and space. The planetarium will also be used as a recruitment tool to get middle and high school students excited about STEM education. The planetarium will be one of many unique ways to incorporate technology into the classrooms and elevate the teaching and learning experiences.

The Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Grant purchased the Mursion software, which provides live classroom simulations that can be used to train pre-service teachers in a virtual setting. “Virtual Reality Training for Educators helps teachers build confidence and competence, elevate the skills of administrators, and offer interactive learning opportunities to students using immersive virtual reality simulation.” Using Mursion’s technology, BC faculty can prepare pre-service K-12 teachers for the challenges of teaching in today’s classrooms, involving new and struggling pre-service teachers in a direct interactive manner that allows for complete engagement using a whole-body experience of listening, seeing, touching, and thinking to improve instruction. Using Mursion, students can develop their teaching practices in a safe environment and practice using STEM related instructional strategies.

Meet the Team

team.jpg Patricia Alphonse | Project Director
Patricia Alphonse has extensive experience as a higher education administrator, including grant management and various areas of student services such as Admissions, Registration, and Student Financial Services. She is a minority STEM graduate who understands the value of effective and passionate STEM teachers, many of which were instrumental in her decision to study engineering and become an educator. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Education, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in higher education leadership.

Julie Toscano | TQP Coordinator
Julie Toscano is a Florida native who has proudly served the public education sector for over 20 years. Her experience as a K-8 teacher, literacy coach, instructional coach, and grant coordinator make her a valuable asset to the TQP Grant at Broward College.

Courtney Rolle | TQP Recruiter
Courtney Rolle has served both in public and charter institutions for six years prior to joining the grant team. She comes from a family that includes several educators, and uses those experiences and accumulated knowledge in order to assist in achieving the goals of the TQP Grant.

Sharlene Funchess | TQP Analyst
Sharlene Funchess has been at Broward College for some time, where she worked with the Financial Aid department in various capacities. Sharlene is a graduate of Florida State University where she received a Master of Science degree in Library and Information Studies. She is a true advocate for student success and works diligently to support students in their academic journey.

Contact

​Julie Toscano |  jtoscano@broward.edu
Courtney Rolle |  crolle2@broward.edu
Patricia Alphonse | palphons@broward.edu