The innovative new Education Preparation Laboratory – or EdPrepLab – recognizes the crucial role teachers and principals play in student outcomes. Launched in June by the Learning Policy Institute and Bank Street Graduate School of Education, EdPrepLab will strengthen teacher and principal training by helping them develop the knowledge and skills necessary to support their students’ deeper learning.
Montclair State University is among the 15 leading national teacher and educational leader preparation programs participating in the EdPrepLab launch. “As a member of the EdPrepLab steering committee, Montclair State has been identified as a ‘model’ educator preparation program that other programs across the country can emulate,” explains Montclair State Center of Pedagogy Executive Director Jennifer Robinson.
EdPrepLab’s goal is simple: to ensure that new teachers and leaders are equipped to provide K-12 students with the kind of deeper learning that helps them develop critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills needed to be successful in the increasingly complex information-based society of the future.
“The University’s inclusion in EdPrepLab reflects the outstanding quality of the University’s teacher education programs and its leadership in preparing future educators to teach for deeper learning,” says College of Education and Human Services Dean Tamara Lucas. “Through this new initiative Montclair State will collaborate with the other participating programs to deepen and extend their own work and to develop models for national dissemination.”
Lucas, Robinson and six faculty members recently joined representatives from the other 14 institutions and several national policy makers at the initial two-day EdPrepLab Convening at Bank Street College, where they collectively examined the deeper learning principles underlying the success of high-quality educator preparation programs and began to envision ways to further enact those principles in their own programs.
“A unique aspect of the EdPrepLab is that we all understand that our institutions are in the process of continuous improvement, so we each shared the ways in which the deeper learning principles are well-manifested in our programs – and where we see room for growth,” says Robinson. “We also focused on policy and our responsibility as leading educator preparation programs to positively influence local and national policy-makers.”
EdPrepLab’s mission is informed by Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning, a book co-authored by Linda Darling-Hammond, Learning Policy Institute President and the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University; Jeannie Oakes, Presidential Professor Emerita in Educational Equity at UCLA; and other educators. The teacher education program at Montclair State is one of seven programs examined by the authors, who commend it for successfully showing how “to prepare teachers to meet the needs of today’s schools . . . while preserving core commitments that are vital to providing opportunity to all students.”
Robinson hopes that the University’s current and future programs will benefit from its participation in EdPrepLab. “What excites me the most is having the opportunity to learn from other leading programs across the country,” she says. “Our faculty and staff will gain access to some of the best minds in teacher and leader preparation, and we’ll have the opportunity to share what we know with other programs across the nation and improve our programs and practice.”
In addition to Montclair State, EdPrepLab founding program partners include: Alverno College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Bank Street College, New York; High Tech High, San Diego, California; San Francisco Teacher Residency (San Francisco United School District, Stanford University and University San Francisco); Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Chicago Teacher Residency, Illinois; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Colorado, Denver; University of Illinois, Chicago; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and University of Washington.