Education partnership set to launch

In an effort to provide a long-term, systemic solution to a shortage of high-quality educators in rural West Texas schools, Texas Tech University’s College of Education is establishing the West Texas Rural Education Partnership — an alliance of West Texas universities, community colleges, and school districts that will collaboratively recruit and prepare educators specifically for rural classrooms in the region.

The article announcing the launch came via US Prep, an educator preparation program.

According to Texas Tech Today, the goal of the alliance is to develop and implement an inter-institutional strategy that will provide a pathway toward teaching in rural schools for community members, high school students and existing teacher candidates. The goal is to staff unfilled vacancies, dramatically reduce rates of attrition and prepare teachers who are truly committed to their rural, West Texas communities. The partnership is predicted to produce 200 new community-based teachers each year.

To kick off the initiative, Texas Tech will host a Partnership Summit Thursday and Friday at the Texas Tech Dairy Barn. Attending the summit will be representatives from the University of Texas Permian Basin, University of Texas at El Paso and West Texas A&M University, nine community colleges, and eight school districts. An additional summit is scheduled for December.

The first year of the initiative is funded by a $500,000 grant from the Prentice Farrar Brown and Alline Ford Brown Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

The idea for the rural alliance is based on Texas Tech’s TechTeach Across Rural Texas, a “grow your own” educator preparation program that features district-embedded training and close partnerships between the university, community colleges and rural school districts. The program aims to collaboratively identify members of rural communities interested in teaching and prepare them within the community’s schools where they will work following graduation.