Students dancing with teacher

Butler County ESC contributes to alternative teacher preparation model on a national level

The goal of the curriculum, known as Teaching to Lead (T2L) Math and Science, is to focus on and support the needs of secondary math and science educators who have entered education through an alternative route. While these teachers often possess strong math and science content knowledge from past industry experience, they sometimes lack classroom experience, a degree in education, or confidence in their teaching abilities.

When the time came for SREB to recreate its professional development program for math and science teachers, leaders of the 16-state nonprofit consortium (representing Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia) approached Butler County ESC’s teaching and learning team to design and build a new program from the ground up - something that last occurred a decade ago.

“Thanks to the technical and content expertise of the Butler County Educational Service Center, SREB’s vision for this program has become a reality,” said Scott Warren, SREB’s director of making schools work. “The exemplary work of the ESC will help new teachers from across the nation make the successful transition from the workplace to the classroom and SREB believes this effort will help states and districts effectively address teacher shortages in these critical content areas.”

T2L Math and Science consists of more than 200 hours of professional development designed by the team at Butler County ESC to emphasize essential teaching skills in four areas: instructional planning, engagement strategies, assessment and feedback, and classroom management. The program is based on a similar model used for career and technical teachers developed by SREB in 2010.

Butler County ESC approached the project with a digital-first mindset to enable educators to engage in learning when and where it’s most convenient for them. As a result, T2L Math and Science is now 100% accessible in an online format for the first time. Topics are presented via on-site institutes, virtual workshops and job-embedded coaching to inspire and support new teachers with tools and techniques they can put to work right away in their classrooms.

“Our professional connections with educators across the country open up many unique opportunities to contribute to the field,” said Dr. Heather Sass, Butler County ESC’s assistant to the superintendent in charge of teaching and learning. “This project challenged us to use our expertise in every aspect of teaching to create meaningful, just-in-time resources for beginning teachers. We look forward to continued collaboration with SREB as they roll out this program and look for ways to provide the support necessary to improve teaching and learning.”