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Toward Teacher Preparation 3.0

by Kate Napolitan, John Traynor, Deborah Tully, Joanne Carney, Susan Donnelly & Leslie Rupert Herrenkohl - 2019

Background/Context: The literature review (Phelps, this issue) outlines tensions that can come about in partnerships and collaborations between P–12 schools and teacher education. With these challenges as part of the context, the authors of this article describe the particular moves that school-based and community partners working with four teacher education programs made to prepare preservice teachers who are better oriented toward students, their families, and communities as part of a legislative initiative.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This article presents three cases of how four teacher education programs, in collaboration with partners, moved toward a more democratic model of teacher education as part of a legislative initiative in Washington state. Aspects of community teaching were central in each of the collaborations. Teacher education programs included in this article saw the moves they were making as working toward what Zeichner refers to as Teacher Preparation 3.0.

Research Design: This article employed qualitative methods.

Conclusions/Recommendations: In summary, all three cases included in this article imply that the development of community teachers actively engaged in community schools is as important to teacher preparation as it is to the success and well-being of the students, teachers, and families they serve. Therefore, the authors believe that further quantitative and qualitative exploration of the intersection between these two concepts, community schools and community teachers, is critical to the field of preservice teacher education. If universities wish to establish an equity-pedagogy characteristic of Teacher Preparation 3.0, they need to authentically partner with schools and communities to engage in contextually meaningful practices. By making long-term commitments to working respectfully, responsively, and in mutually beneficial ways with communities, families, schools, and districts, university teacher preparation programs can help make high-quality community schools available for all children.

In 20122013, four teacher education programs and three elementary schools began a project that was centered on collaboration. The project was funded by Washington states legislature, and the scale of this work is described in the introduction to the special issue (T. I. Herrenkohl & Herrenkohl, 2019, this issue). In addition to the projects focus on academic excellence, these collaborations were also tasked with changing teacher education programs from the ground up by more fully including schools and partners from local communities. In working toward better preparing teachers to work in schools impacted by poverty, legislators recognized how teacher education programs that were more informed and connected in authentic ways to public schools, as well as to local families and communities, could enhance preparation for preservice teachers.


The authors of this article, along with their partners, saw this call as an opportunity to work toward Teacher Preparation 3.0 as described by Kretchmar and Zeichner (2016):

Teacher preparation 3.0 programs are distinct from 1.0 and 2.0 in the ways that they value community expertise, emphasize place-based learning, and prepare community teachers who are knowledgeable of the communities in which they teach. Together, these components of 3.0 programs help situate teacher education amid a larger movement for social justice. (p. 428)

During this project, preservice teachers were provided support to develop as community teachers (Murrell, 2001; Murrell, Strauss, Carlson, & Alcoreza Dominguez, 2015)teachers who draw on richly contextualized knowledge of culture, community, and identity in their professional work with children and families in diverse urban communities (Murrell, 2001, p. 4).

This article uses three cases to describe the efforts of these collaborations related to

teacher education (all names from this point onward are pseudonyms): (1) Riverview Elementary with Baytown University, (2) Kennedy Elementary with Bellarmine and Knox Universities, and (3) Blakeview Elementary with Mountain City University.

Case 1: Riverview Elementary with Baytown University. Case 1 describes a place-based approach to preparing community teachers with deep knowledge of the community context, dispositions to holistically support families and students needs, and a repertoire of core practices effective for the communitys learners. Evidence of impact includes data on preservice teachers use of targeted instructional strategies during their full-time student teaching and a significantly greater number of graduates choosing to teach in high-need schools.

Case 2: Kennedy Elementary with Bellarmine and Knox Universities. This case describes efforts to saturate Kennedy with preservice teachers through the placement of student teachers, the situating of university methods courses (math and literacy), and the delivery of extended learning opportunities, and elucidates how and why these initiatives evolved over time. The results of these efforts, which were responsive to the schools needs, led to meaningful supports provided to Kennedy students that would not be possible without the partnership, while providing authentic learning experiences for preservice teachers.


Case 3: Blakeview Elementary with Mountain City University. Case 3 specifically explores how the amplified voices of the families whose children attended Blakeview impacted preservice teachers while student teaching and later into their careers as classroom teachers, informing how they work to authentically partner with the families of their students. These impacts inform a clarion call for teacher education programs everywhere to more fully integrate family voice into their teacher education programs.

It is important to note that our use of partnership not only denotes collaboration between the elementary school and the teacher education program, but also is inclusive of the families and communities connected to each school. Each partnership was located in a different part of the state, and the collaborations had different needs and opportunities based on contexts. Given the dynamic nature of such collaborations (see Phelps, 2019, this issue), these cases demonstrate the ebb and flow the work can take when the needs of schools and communities are at the center. Change was a persistent feature, and mutual trust (Salina, Girtz, & Eppinga, 2016a; Seidl & Friend, 2002) was critical among partners. We hope readers can study these cases as a way to understand, despite the many challenges that arise, how achieving more democratic teacher preparation programs is not only possible, but also can indeed yield powerful results.


The work of partnerships is complex under even the best of circumstances. The challenges as noted in the Phelps literature review (2019, this issue) arise primarily from three broad categories of partner differences: organizational structure, discourse practices, and power relations. Between schools and universities, despite being situated under the mantle of education and doing complementary work, the two are not cut from the same cultural cloth. The norms, roles, and expectations of educators in each of these educational realms could not be more different (Sirotnik, 1991, p. 19). Miller (2001) commented on the difficulty of collaborating in a boundary area between the two institutions: A school/university partnership is a precarious organization. Bridging two cultures, it remains marginal to each. This marginalization, though difficult to manage, is essential for survival (p. 116). Fold in the need for authentic collaboration with local families and communities, and an additional dimension of complexity is addedbut a critical one to wrestle with if we are truly going to prepare preservice teachers to authentically partner with communities that are so often different than their own (Epstein & Sanders, 2006; Hyland & Meacham, 2004; Zeichner, 2010).

We know that teacher education programs have to branch beyond K12 schools and educators; families and communities must also have a voice in the preparation of teachers who will serve their children (Lee, 2018; Seidl & Friend, 2002; Sleeter, 2001; Zeichner, Bowman, Guillén, & Napolitan, 2016). Additionally, amid the complex dynamics between teacher education programs and schools, there is an interdependence inherent in their respective institutional missions: K12 schools need teachers, the vast majority of whom are prepared in universities, and universities need K12 schools as environments to engage preservice teachers in the work of learning to teach in situated contexts.



In light of these challenges, teacher preparation programs are increasingly looking to reframe the preparation of teachers by becoming more thoughtful about the alignment of university-based coursework and better partnering with local families and communities (Zeichner, 2010). As teacher preparation programs and K12 schools grapple with partnership and teacher preparation issues on the local level, there is also momentum at the national and regional levels driven by professional organization advocacy and government policy shifts.


Both the National Council for Accreditation Blue Ribbon Panel (2010) and the AACTEs recent report (2017) have advocated for policy and practice that position partnerships and clinical work at the center of teacher preparation. In tandem, government at the state level has reflected this shift and has required schools of education to document progress toward developing and sustaining partnerships with stakeholders (e.g., https://www.pesb.wa.gov/about-pesb/mission-vision-strategic-plan/). The grant funding our partnerships was related to such efforts.

One framework that aligns to the community teacher and Teacher Preparation 3.0 framework and that is helpful in situating this work in the school environment is found in the literature on community schools (Maier, Daniel, Oakes, & Lam, 2017). Community context is a key indicator of the various forms and formats that describe community schools, with an understanding that it is not a program, in the sense of specific structures and practices that are replicated across multiple contexts. Rather, it is grounded in the principle that all students, families, and communities benefit from strong connections between educators and local resources, supports, and people (Maier et al., 2017, p. 12).

While there is not one definitive community school framework or definition, Maier et al. (2017) identified four features, or pillars, that appear most in community schools and support the conditions for teaching and learning found in high-quality schools: (1) integrated student supports, (2) expanded learning time and opportunities, (3) family and community engagement, and (4) collaborative leadership and practice. While the three cases described in this article vary with respect to their enactment of these four pillars, they each had two or three as core domains to their respective work. The community school approach was chosen in part because there is strong evidence that community schools support students impacted by poverty who are not achieving to their fullest ability. Additionally, community schools help address opportunity and achievement gaps that span income, race, language, and disability (Maier et al., 2017).


This article focuses on how our sites developed and sustained mutually beneficial partnerships in service to quality teacher preparation and enhanced K12 student supports. To situate this work within existing literature on partnerships, and the preparation of preservice teachers more specifically, two key concepts will provide a structure for our analysis and a connection to the literature.

First, Kretchmar and Zeichner (2016) framed the type of situated, collaborative teacher preparation that is grounded in partnership as Teacher Preparation 3.0 and suggested that such programmes are distinct from 1.0 and 2.0 in the ways that they value community expertise, emphasize place-based learning, and prepare community teachers who are knowledgeable of the communities in which they teach (p. 428). The authors of this article do not claim to have fully accomplished the distinctions that Kretchmar and Zeichner outlined, but each project has made changes in that direction. These shifts take time and require mutual understanding, shared vision and values, and an experimental orientation. As the partnerships have evolved, so too have the place-situated nature of the work and the collective knowledge of the communities in which preservice teachers learn to teach.

Second, the related but more specific concept of the community teacher as formulated by Murrell (2001; Murrell et al., 2015) serves as an organizing framework for the place-based nature of the work. He asserted that community teachers, who are prepared in the context of a particular community, are committed to the communities in which they work. In addition, they have a repertoire of core practices effective for the communitys students and larger sociohistorical understandings that enable them to engage with parents and other community members to support students. We provide additional details for both of these framing concepts in the sections to follow.


Kretchmar and Zeichner (2016) have commented on how university teacher education programs have come under attack over the past decade, with various noncollege teacher preparation programs being launched by social entrepreneurs. These fast-track programs have been billed as Teacher Prep 2.0 and lauded as more practical and focused on the technical aspects of teaching, as opposed to what the innovators describe as the obsolete Teacher Prep 1 offered by colleges of education. Kretchmar and Zeichner saw both 1.0 and 2.0 programs missing authentic partnerships with K12 teachers and leaders, and connections to contexts and communities. In response, Kretchmar and Zeichner proposed a new version of teacher preparationone that values expertise from local communities, emphasizes place-based learning, and makes significant efforts to prepare community teachers who are knowledgeable of the communities in which they teach (p. 428). Zeichner (2016) posited this version as Teacher Preparation 3.0:

Teacher education 3.0, which practices the values and commitments of social justice and democracy, rejects the choice that is now being provided in current policy debates [regarding teacher education] and offers a model that is built on a new, more democratic architecture where responsibility for educating teachers is shared more equally by different stakeholders (i.e., schools, universities, local communities) who collaborate in equitable ways. (p. 154)

Zeichner has noted how university teacher education programs have often fostered hierarchies of knowledge and power in their interactions with schools, sometimes placing K12 educators and community members in second-class roles where they participate as guests in learning experiences for preservice teachers that have been conceptualized and designed by others. The hardest thing to do in this work is to transcend these colonial relationships and achieve genuinely collaborative partnerships that are characterized by mutual trust and benefit (Zeichner, 2017).  

The 3.0 model includes elements typically found in 1.0 programs, such as learner and learning-centered approaches and clinical experiences that ask preservice teachers to authentically connect theory and practice (Kretchmar & Zeichner, 2016). Yet, it does more: Teacher preparation 3.0 brings together context, culture, and community with the acquisition of the ability to implement professional teaching practices and adaptive expertise in ways that are not found in many 1.0 and 2.0 programs (Zeichner, 2016, p. 155). The 3.0 approach has another benefit as well: grounding teacher preparation in communities. This provides new teachers with the pedagogical repertoire to be successful with students from a given community and may even help to address the problem of high teacher turnover common to highly impacted schools. Murrells concept of community teacher (Murrell, 2001; Murrell et al., 2015) is complementary to the paradigm shift implied by Teacher Preparation 3.0 in framing the work of teaching anchored in community.


According to Murrell (2001; Murrell et al., 2015), community teachers bring contextualized knowledge of the social, historical, and political environment of a community to their practice. The community teacher concept also implies a commitment to working in partnership with families and other community members to holistically address student needs. As Murrell et al. (2015) have noted, The community teacher sees himself or herself as integral to the circle of support for each child, along with the family, community residents, social workers, health care providers and social, cultural and recreational leaders (p. 158).

The community teacher concept provides an important framework for the preparation of preservice teachers who are attuned and responsive to the contextual and relational aspects of the communities in which they are preparing for a teaching profession. While this is aspirational and takes the slow work of relationship building, we found that it was a key component of our collective work. The three cases that follow describe various measures that each partnership has taken to prepare community teachers for community schools within a Teacher Preparation 3.0 framework.


Each site used a variety of methods to collect data, which informed its case development. These methods are fully explained in each site article in this issue and referenced in each of the cases presented next.




The article Creating Synergies for Change (Carney et al., 2019, this issue) explains how the many interwoven initiatives of the RiverviewBaytown University partnership contributed to particular goals and action outcomes focused primarily on the school program. In this case, we look more closely at teacher preparation initiatives and outcomes. Data presented in this case are derived from semistructured interviews, focus groups, preservice and in-service teacher surveys, and information on teacher employment in state databases.

Many of our teacher education efforts were extended beyond Riverview Elementary, the school in the Creating Synergies article. During the spring quarters of 2014 through 2018, we placed an entire cohort (2027 students) of elementary preservice teachers in three to six schools in Riverviews school district or an adjoining one. For that reason, in this article, we will describe initiatives that applied to all the community-cohort preservice teachers, specifying when there were particular actions pertinent only to Riverview.


In this section, we document how we have incorporated particular Teacher Preparation 3.0 elements into our teacher preparation program in order to provide preservice teachers with the knowledge and dispositions to work as educators within the larger movement for social justice.    

Foundational to Teacher Preparation 3.0 is a commitment to working in partnership with school districts to ground teacher education in a community and school contextthat is, to prepare community teachers who draw on contextualized knowledge of the culture, community, and identity of the children and families they serve in order to create the core teaching practices necessary for effectiveness in diverse settings (Murrell, 2001). In this case, the context was a small town in an agricultural river valley with significant numbers of Latinx families and students impacted by poverty. Yet, wherever Baytown Universitys new teachers eventually chose to teach, our program wanted them to become community teachers in that particular locale.

The accomplished practice of a community teacher encourages students participation and engagement in learning activities doing biology, or history, or whatever the subject matter is (Murrell, 2001). As such, this case will include a description of how university coursework intentionally focused on the doing of social studies, with a place-based emphasis, in a social studies methods course.

Another tenet of community teaching and the 3.0 approach is collaboration; therefore, preservice teachers learning opportunities during the programs three-quarter-long internship were grounded in collaborative practice. The five university courses that took place during the internship all had assignments keyed to tasks of teaching and explicitly drew on the expertise of both teacher education faculty and mentor teachers. Teacher educators and mentor teachers worked together to help preservice teachers plan and implement units in social studies, math, and literacy effective for the particular students in their classrooms.

Of the four pillars from Maier et al. (2017) referenced earlier, the two that most benefited us in our teacher preparation work were family and community engagement, and collaborative leadership. In our case, we will describe four initiatives related to these pillars: (1) place-based internship placements; (2) place-based, place-conscious teacher preparation curriculum; (3) enhanced relationships with families and in-school supports; and (4) professional learning communities developing effective core practices.


Our collaborative teacher preparation program modeled and contributed to family and community engagement through place-based internship placements; place-based, place-conscious curriculum; and actions to develop more trusting relationships with families and provide more supports for student well-being.

Place-Based Internship Placements

During the pilot year of the grant (20122013), the Baytown University Elementary Education Department (ELED) placed a group of seven preservice teachers at Riverview Elementary for their three-quarter internship. In spring 2014, the program was expanded, and an entire cohort of 22 preservice teachers placed at Riverview and two other demographically similar schools in the area. This community-cohort placement approach was continued and expanded: Over the past five years, nearly 100 preservice teachers have completed their internship in the communitys schools. Another cohort of 20 began in spring 2018. All these schools have high percentages of English language learner and low-income populations, meeting the criteria for high need (Legal Information Institute, 2018).

Place-Based, Place-Conscious Curriculum

Placement of an entire spring cohort in the community allowed the ELED program to move internship coursework from the university campus to a room in the district office. As noted in the Creating Synergies article (Carney et al., 2019, this issue), the town is approximately 30 miles south of the university, and locating coursework there had two significant benefits: (1) being situated in the community signaled that we were a part of it, and (2) preservice teachers were able to spend more time in their classrooms because they did not have to hurry back to campus for courses.

As this community-cohort model was inaugurated, the two internship courses were integrated more closely with each other and with preservice teachers teaching practice in schools. A new curriculum for the first-quarter internship methods course emphasized inquiry and a place-based approach in teaching elementary social studies.

The methods course and other internship initiatives aligned with what Bowman and Gottesman (2017) described as place-conscious teacher preparation, an approach that uses tools of the humanities and social sciences to critically reflect upon and reason through struggles for equitable schooling and a more just society (p. 239). In the social studies methods course, assignments engaged the preservice teachers in various types of inquiry that would deepen their understanding of the social, cultural, political, and economic contexts of their students lives and raise the sorts of critical questions characteristic of a place-conscious approach. The first assignment in the course was the Sociocultural Inquiry Project, which gives the school groups this task:

In this assignment, with others in your school-based cluster, you will do an inquiry into the sociocultural features of your students school and neighborhood communities that are likely to be significant for your teaching. Using the methods of social scientists, you will gather information from local informants (e.g., your mentor teachers), from databases of demographic information online (e.g., state school report cards), and from school and community websites. You will also do first-hand exploration by going into your students neighborhoods to take digital photos or videos to show significant features of their communities.

The process of doing the Sociocultural Inquiry Project began with an immersive experience before the preservice teachers started work in their classroomsa daylong field trip. Led by the faculty member teaching the course, the cohort investigated the geography and ecology of the region by visiting a coastal marine reserve to learn about the crucial role that estuaries play in a coastal ecological system. After a presentation that illuminated social and economic forces that drastically reduced the size of the estuary and impacted the ecology of the area, the preservice teachers stood looking across the bay at the oil refineries dominating the opposite shore adjacent to the reservation of the local Indigenous people. These experiences anticipated and gave meaning to later class readings and a video about the historical injustices suffered by the local Indigenous tribes. After leaving the shore, the preservice teachers did field work to explore the diking system that closed off much of the river estuary to create the rich agricultural land that has been the foundation of the regions economy for more than 100 years, bringing successive waves of immigrants into the valley.

The third stop was a visit to the county historical museum, where the instructor modeled how they might use such resources as teachersinvestigating the various primary sources (documents, artifact, photos, etc.) in the museums collection as they continued their own sociohistorical investigation. The instructor raised critical issues in various ways during this museum inquiry by asking questions such as, Who do we not see represented, or not represented equitably in this collection? and What attitude toward technology is implied in the array of artifacts displayed?

The day culminated with a visit to a local farm. The preservice teachers learned how the farmer, himself an immigrant from the rural Frisian area of The Netherlands, decided to raise particular crops and animals to provide year-round employment for his immigrant workers, rather than relying on seasonal crops tended by transient migrant labor. This led to a discussion about the economics of such an approach and the implications for agricultural workers of the crop choices made by other farmers in the area. At this farm, the preservice teachers also had the opportunity to talk with workers to find out more about their jobs and lives. The field trip was debriefed in the next class session, and the instructor was again able to probe critical issues and provide additional information.

One issue discussed after the field trip was the repeated labor strife at a large local berry farm. In contrast to the farm we visited, the berry farm uses primarily transient migrants as their workforce. The labor practices at this berry farm have drawn national attention, provoked strikes and protests, and polarized the community. In our class, we considered the multiple perspectives involved in the situation, discussed the impact of globalization on the berry farms practices, and read excerpts from an anthropological study (Holmes, 2013) to better understand the lives and working conditions of migrant agricultural workers. In this area, the migrant workers are primarily from the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Their children are among the students in every one of these preservice teachers classes.

The Sociocultural Inquiry Project continued as the preservice teachers in each school group did more collaborative investigation. The emphasis in the inquiry was on identifying community assets, but as the preservice teachers continued their inquiry, additional critical issues within the community were also revealed: patterns of social and economic inequity, historical injustices and prejudices, lack of access to social services, differing impact of crime and various forms of trauma, past and present ecological destruction, etc. Our practice-based course learning structures gave the instructor the opportunity to probe the findings of each school group, unpacking some of the assumptions and providing historical context.

In summary, the social studies curriculum modeled inquiry and an experiential, place-based approach in preservice teachers own classrooms as it established a place-conscious teacher preparation pedagogy founded on 3.0 principlesproviding teacher candidates with a nuanced and deep understanding of the context and history of a particular place, and the varied facets of structural inequality that impact that place, which shapes their approach to teaching (Kretchmar & Zeichner, 2016, p. 430).

Enhancing Relationships With Families and Providing In-School Supports

In the Creating Synergies (Carney et al., 2019, this issue) article, we explained in detail how our project worked to build deeper, more trusting relationships with families and to transform teachers understandings from a deficit to asset-based model. The goal was to consider with families how to engage in mutually meaningful efforts, beginning the dialog by asking families to share their hopes and dreams for their children. The efforts described here are in contrast to Teacher Education 1.0 and 2.0, where many teachers have a missionary approach and see themselves as working to save students from their communities (Kretchmar & Zeichner, 2016, p. 430).

Initiatives to enhance family engagement and move away from a culture of poverty framework (Payne, 1999) began at Riverview but were extended by the district to all the schools where preservice teachers were placed. Changes included family visits, professional development to help teachers become more culturally responsive, and efforts to make conferences an opportunity to hear from families rather than primarily a one-way report on a childs behavior and achievement.

At Riverview, in-service and preservice teachers were offered professional development on how to help children deal with trauma and promote resiliency. Those efforts were later extended districtwide. Riverview teachers and preservice teachers also learned how educators could work with the on-site Community in Schools coordinator and community social service agencies to provide family supports. Subsequently, Riverviews district placed a Community in Schools professional in two additional elementary schools, and preservice teachers in those schools also learned how teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school personnel could partner with community social service agencies to support the well-being of students and their families. One preservice teacher commented on how students in her classroom have benefitted:

Preservice Teacher 3: His position [Community in Schools] has really helped out my new student who came from [another school]. He has a lot of violent outbursts and he has been checking in with [the Community in Schools coordinator] every day and that has really been helping him. Its been good for him to have someone else to go to other than his teachers . . . another positive person to make school seem more exciting and safe and he has that support which is really great. (Focus group, 2018)

Maier et al. (2017) have noted, Community schools bring educators and community partners together to create high-quality schools with an integrated approach to academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement (p. 1). Preservice teachers saw evidence of this approach at Riverview:

Preservice Teacher 2: In the schools weve been at in [larger community to the north], they do have a lot of community involvement and school involvement, but being here at this school in this town, its a lot different because theyre supporting the families in different ways. . . . Here where families might be living in apartment buildings, they have buses that go pick the families up and bring them up to the school which is really nice so if the families dont have a car or if theyre not able to have transportation, they provide that for the families and thats really nice to say that We want you at the school, we want you here with us, and Ive seen a lot of commitment to the families at this school. (Focus group, 2018)

Initiatives begun at Riverview disseminated throughout the district and beyond; all the community-cohort preservice teachers learned these practices in their schools, although the Riverview preservice teachers may have experienced them in a more fully developed form.

Having elaborated on the ways that one pillar of high-quality community schoolsfamily and community engagementinformed and supported our teacher preparation work, we now turn to the second pillar, collaborative leadership and practice.


Maier et al. (2017) explained that collaborative leadership and practice contribute to student learning and well-being primarily through teacher-peer collaborative learning. The strong professional learning communities at Riverview and other placement school sites were foundational to this kind of professional learning. In these communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1999), preservice teachers were immersed in conversations about problems of practice as teachers mulled over issues, evaluated student assessment data, and planned collaboratively. Because we made an effort to place multiple preservice teachers on grade-level teams, the preservice teachers had access not just to the thinking of their own, but also to the entire grade-level team of teachers and other preservice teachers. Preservice teachers commented on how beneficial it was to have other preservice teachers in their professional learning community:

Preservice Teacher 1: Oh my gosh, if we were by ourselves, it would be a totally different experience! It was fantastic having other interns on the same team because we were able to talk about things and collaborate, like what do we think went well, what can we change?

At Riverview, two of the professional learning communities also included teacher educators and this meant that they too were contributing to the professional conversation, making connections to university coursework, and learning from the preservice and in-service teachers.

Professional Learning Communities Developing Effective Core Practices

Lave and Wenger (1999) noted that a community of practice involves mutual engagement, joint productive enterprises, and a shared repertoire. Those three elements were present in the work done at Riverview to develop effective core practices for the diverse learners in the school. The professional development offered teachers in the whole-school professional learning community was focused on core teaching practices that would be engaging and effective for this communitys studentsGuided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD). (More information about GLAD can be found in the Creating Synergies article.)

Using GLAD as our primary strategy for enhancing instruction was a joint decision by both the school and university partners. Before the project, the district had been promoting the use of GLAD through summer teacher trainings and other workshops. The university project team respected that district choice and brought a faculty member with GLAD expertise into the initiative to dramatically widen the reach and fidelity of these practices. This kind of respectful collaboration is the goal of Teacher Preparation 3.0.

Typically, professional development in GLAD is offered to practicing teachers by their school districts. In this case, grant funding allowed for a cluster of preservice teachers at Riverview to participate in the first weeklong intensive GLAD workshop with their mentor-teachers. The response by preservice teachers and teacher educators in the program was so positive that efforts were made to extend GLAD training to all the preservice teachers in the community cohort, beginning with the spring 2016 group and continuing for the 2017 cohort.

In a survey, preservice teachers from the 2016 cohort reported using GLAD strategies extensively during their full-time student teaching quarterboth in coteaching with their mentor teacher and independently. The 11 survey respondents (out of 22) reported using all 30 of the strategies that had been modeled, at least occasionally. More than 90% reported using five key strategies that are of particular benefit for English learners regularly or occasionally. Seven other strategies were used by 50%82%.

In survey comments, preservice teachers reported collaborating with their teachers in developing GLAD materials and coteaching with GLAD strategies. They noted how beneficial it was to have both the mentor teacher and the student teacher GLAD trained:

We have both been able to have GLAD strategies on our radar. Sometimes it's easy to forget strategies when you are so focused on teaching the content. We were able to remind each other of times to use the strategies, which meant there was a lot of them being done in our classroom.

They also reported that their mentor teachers learned from them:

My mentor teacher had some GLAD strategies she used and some more she wanted to use but didn't know how to connect them together. For example, when doing an input chart, what comes before? Or after? How many times do we go back to the input chart during the unit? What happens to the chart after the unit is done and the learning takes place?

Developing effective core practices for the diverse students in ones classroom is crucial to becoming a high-quality community teacher. In this case, preservice teachers, mentor teachers, and teacher educators were able to learn GLADs language-intensive instructional strategies and collaboratively design GLAD-infused lessons and units effective for the many English learners in their classrooms.


The state legislators who funded our project charged us with preparing new teachers who would be able to teach in ways effective for closing the achievement/opportunity gap. Is there reason to believe that placing sizeable cohorts of preservice teachers in high-need schools and devising a place-based, place-conscious teacher education curriculum focused on that community might contribute to that goal?

A partial answer to that question comes from a number of large-scale studies (e.g., Ronfeldt, 2015; Ronfeldt, Farmer, McQueen, & Grissom, 2015) that have found a correlation between where a preservice teacher does student teaching and later student achievement. Student achievement, as measured by standardized state-level assessments, is higher if the demographics of the school where the preservice teachers did their student teaching internship match the school demographics where they eventually teach.

Based on these findings, closing the achievement/opportunity gap would thus require that preservice teachers be prepared for the student populations in high-need schools by doing their student teaching in high-need schools. And furthermore, preservice teachers must be motivated by their preparation to choose to teach in less affluent communities after gaining their teaching credential. Noting this line of research, we went on to analyze our own program data to see if preservice teachers from the community cohorts described in this case might be more likely to go on to teach in high-need schools as compared with those in our traditional cohorts. We did indeed find such evidence.

Using the 60% of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch criterion for high-need, we analyzed data on where ELED graduates from two different groups were employed as teachers to determine if there were differences in whether they chose to teach in high-need schools. The preservice teachers in both groups were randomly selected, based on when particular preservice teachers had completed all the coursework prerequisite to the internship. Group 1 (n = 39) was composed of two cohorts who had done their internship in the location and manner described in this case. These cohorts had graduated in winter 2015 and 2016. Group 2 (n = 43) included two cohorts who had not done their internship in the setting described in this case. This group included preservice teachers who graduated one quarter after the Group 1 cohortsin spring 2015 and 2016. In general, the Group 2 cohorts were in schools that were less diverse and had fewer students impacted by poverty than those in Group 1. Analysis of hiring data revealed the following:


Group 1: Two place-based community cohorts (n = 36)22 employed in high-need schools = 61%; 10 in Riverviews district (27.7%)


Group 2: Two non-place-based cohorts (n = 43)16 employed in high-need schools = 37%

The significant difference between where the two groups of graduates were choosing to teach suggests two things about the place-based community cohorts: These new teachers feel well prepared to teach students in high-need schools and have the dispositions to choose this demographic of students. Two preservice teachers explain:

Preservice Teacher 3: I was a little bit uneasy [when I started here] because where I grew up, its a fairly Caucasian, privileged area to live in. Yes, there are students who struggle with poverty but not to the extent that [this community] has and so I now feel a lot more comfortable. The professional development weve gone through and when we went on the field trip and just learned more about their culture here and I think that when students have come to me with things like Oh, my parents work many jobs, I am often at home alone with my little brother, or My parents cant take me to Mexico because they will never be able to come back, and I think that I have skills to deal with those kinds of comments and questions. (Focus group, 2018)


Preservice Teacher 2: I think as a takeaway from being at this school is wherever we end up, this experience here will really benefit us. Weve been in contact with so many different students. Its like a huge range of academic, social, and economic statuses; we have the whole spectrum so its really nice to kind of interact with students from all different backgrounds and wherever we end up, were going to take those experiences with us and well have a lot of tools in our toolbox to use. (Focus group, 2018)

Not only have the preservice teachers from these community cohorts developed the confidence to teach in schools with similar demographics, but principals and others doing the hiring for high-need schools see Group 1 preservice teachers as likely to be effective in teaching their students, and they hire them.


In taking a place-based, place-conscious approach to preparing community teachers in partnership with districts, we have modeled for preservice teachers, in-service teachers, and teacher educators how they might better engage with families and other community members to support student well-being. By emphasizing collaborative leadership and working collaboratively in professional learning communities, we have jointly cultivated core practices likely to be effective in schools with a large percentage of English learners and high-poverty measures. Our goal was to prepare cadres of teachers able to recognize the strengths and challenges of the communities where they serve, and, having been given the appropriate pedagogical tools to support and engage learners, feel empowered to teach in the communities most in need of their very best efforts.


The article Discovering Together (Traynor & Tully, 2019, this issue) explored the partnership between Bellarmine University, Knox University, and Kennedy Elementary. The focus of this case study is one of intentionality versus eventuality. Where we initially began and where we intended to go is not where we actually found ourselves. Examining this intentionality versus eventuality dynamic allowed us to more fully examine our partnership efforts, with a particular focus on the teacher preparation initiatives that were a key anchor to the project. This case presents a framework, the aligned activities, and a discussion of the results of this effort. The following section describes the initiatives around saturation, field-situated methods, and extended learning opportunities and includes data from interviews, surveys, observations, and focus group discussions. These data were collected over a five-year span and, given the nature of the work, were anonymized by name and date.

The literature on community schools (Maier et al., 2017) points to (1) integrated student supports and (2) expanded learning time and opportunities as two of the four pillars (with the other two being family and community engagement, and collaborative leadership and practice) that appear in high-quality schools. Additionally, these initiatives provide an authentic environment for preservice teachers to engage in the work of being a teacher while simultaneously supporting student learning. Potentially powerful synergy is created by the development of additional supports for students, while simultaneously providing rich learning experiences for preservice teachers.


The framework for the partnership project between Kennedy, Bellarmine, and Knox focused on providing additional student supports (Balfanz, 2013) and authentic, field-situated teacher preparation (Zeichner, 2010). A resulting point of intersection surfaced where the construction and delivery of these supports created spaces for authentic teacher preparation.

With the preparation of future teachers as our central focus, we traced the journey of our partnership, and the following initiatives emerged as specific examples of intentionality versus eventuality:


Saturation and coteaching: Provide a critical mass of preservice teachers from Bellarmine and Knox Universities, using the coteaching model, to increase student supports for Kennedy Elementary


Field-situated methodology: Engage in courses (math and literacy methodology) that are site-based at Kennedy Elementary


Extended learning opportunities: Provide academic enrichment and support during out-of-school time, at both Kennedy and university campuses

The evolution of these initiatives resulted from a unique collision between efforts to support Kennedybased on Kennedys determinations regarding where our efforts aligned to their sense of school needs, particularly with respect to student supportsand efforts by Bellarmine and Knox to provide authentic experiences for preservice teachers. By becoming more thoughtful in considering where and how preservice teachers work with local youth in and alongside schools, we were able to prepare preservice teachers with experiences that enhanced their commitment to the communities they served.

These considerations naturally led to developing opportunities among our partners that provided additional supports to elementary-level students and aligned with Balfanzs suggestion (2013) that strategies need to be developed to amass sufficient person power to form supportive relationships with the hundreds of struggling students in need of individualized support (p. 13). The university students became the person power suggested through their work in the schools with the students in need of these types of connections. The three initiatives of saturation, field-situated methodologies and extended learning opportunities programs are all focused on the reciprocal nature of learner-centered approaches and clinical experiences that enrich both sides of the partnership.  

This case focuses on the development and delivery of additional integrated student supports and expanded learning opportunities, as advocated by Balfanz (2013) and Maier et al. (2017), as a mechanism to prepare teachers in the ways advocated by Zeichner (2010, 2017) and Murrell (2001; Murrell et al., 2015). This focus helped to frame the intentionality versus eventuality dynamic of the partnership, where flexibility and the capacity to hang in there allowed the work to evolve in a way that met both the needs of the school community and those of the preservice teachers involved in work at the school.


At the outset of this partnership, the intention was to employ a saturation model of clinical placements with both Bellarmine and Knox placing preservice teachers from each of their respective masters-in-teaching programs in as many classrooms as possible while using the coteach model to organize the work in the classroom. The preservice teachers were placed in the classroom for the entire year, which culminated in a full-time 12-week student teaching experience. The process involved teachers and administrators from Kennedy in the selection of and communication to preservice teachers regarding expectations. From the beginning, there was a recognition that there would be barriers to having preservice teachers placed in every classroom. In some cases, the teacher was not eligible to have a student teacher because of either lack of experience (state law requires more than three years of classroom teaching) or lack of support from the administration (there were some teachers whom the principal did not want to place with preservice teachers). In other situations, although rare, there was a lack of fit with the preservice teachers needs. Nevertheless, the program began with 10 masters-in-teaching preservice teachers placed at Kennedy Elementary, out of the roughly 16 available classrooms. This initiative provided additional trained adults in classrooms to support delivery of differentiated and personalized instruction, while also providing an authentic clinical environment for learning to teach (Ericsson, Charness, Hoffman, & Feltovich, 2006; Grossman, 2010; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2010). In addition, full immersion within the school and community over a longer period allowed preservice teachers to deepen their cultural understanding of the diversity of students and families with whom they interacted, which in turn prepared them to better serve the community in which the school is situated.  

The coteaching model of internship design was the framework that guided the student teaching model at the school site (www.washingtoncoteach.com). This model has at its core the notion of partnership. Specifically, preservice teachers are seen as partners and resources to the work of the classroom teacher, and their efforts are not to try out or try on the teaching profession, but rather to contribute, through their own learning, to the learning of the entire Kennedy community. To that end, the element of coplanning took on an elevated level of importance with preservice teachers at this site who engaged in weekly grade-level professional learning communities in addition to regular mentor teacher planning sessions. Preservice teachers reported that their inclusion in these meetings afforded them opportunities to authentically contribute to the professional decision-making process in ways that were greater than those of their peers at other school sites.  The masters-in-teaching preservice teachers who were involved in the grant work were engaged in a masters-in-teaching professional learning community, in addition to the weekly meetings with their mentor teachers. Each year, the masters-in-teaching students spoke about the powerful support they experienced during the professional learning community time with peers who were all engaged in this unique partnership experience. The monthly professional learning community meetings provided a structured time for the preservice teachers to share and discuss their experiences, resulting in common themes around collaboration, collegiality, and a sense of shared purpose. These meetings were a cornerstone of the supports provided to the preservice teachers and included faculty participation in the discussions. To ensure a safe environment to share challenges and professional issues, school personnel were not included in these meetings. However, following each of the professional learning community meetings, the faculty would debrief with the school administration to share any themes, insights, or suggestions that came up during those conversations. One masters-in-teaching candidate commented, The monthly [professional learning communities] meetings show we are all experiencing the same scenarios in our classroom (Preservice Teacher #1). Another masters-in-teaching student noted, The fact that there are just so many [preservice teachers] at Holmes to support each other  . . . is a valuable asset (Preservice Teacher #2).

Despite the benefits that preservice teachers bring to schools during their student teaching, they also can create fatigue for the school community. This wax and wane was a persistent theme during our project. Mentor teachers frequently named the sheer numbers of masters-in-teaching candidates at Kennedy to be a supportive factor. Yet, from our ongoing conversations, we knew that mentoring and hosting such a large number of preservice teachers was causing some strain for our partner. Yet, we continued with the model given the positive nature of the feedback from preservice teachers. One preservice teacher noted, I would have to say that having so many of us at Kennedy has made us a much more close-knit group then the [preservice teachers] not at Kennedy (Preservice Teacher #3). This was in reference to their peers in the cohort who were placed at other elementary schools, typically singly, without other preservice teachers in the building.

Our experience leads us to believe in the value of the saturation and coteaching models because they allow schools to increase support services and opportunities for students, and for universities to create authentic field experiences. The partners also recognized that there are challenges with maintaining these models given the attention that it requires of the school in general, and the mentor teachers more specifically. This has been a critically important learning for our partnership in that it highlighted the rub that arose: The desire on the teacher education side to have a handful of preservice teachers at the school was seen as a strength, but in reality, at times it was perceived as a drain on the school side. This is an example of the Teacher Education 3.0 framework (Zeichner, 2016) that requires more collaboration and coordination with the communities as a model for preparing teachers. It requires a level of flexibility and the capacity to regularly adjust, and it may make the case for a more hybrid approach (i.e., alternating years for mentor teachers, grade-level rotations, etc).

It is important to note that this initiative, which was the tip of the spear for the early years of this partnership, was not sustained because of the fatigue caused by such intense use of classrooms. In fact, in the final year of the project, we only had one masters-in-teaching preservice teacher placed at Kennedy. What eventually made more sense for our school partner, based on its needs as a school, was to focus on evolving the field-situated methods and the extended learning opportunities, while simultaneously providing placement and learning opportunities for our preservice teachers. These initiatives were successful in providing the school with additional person power from the universities beyond any level attained by coteaching alone.


Each of our universities situated entire methods courses at Kennedy during the school day. In the case of Bellarmine, the undergraduate math methods course was situated in three separate second-grade classrooms. The math methods instructor and the Kennedy teachers collaboratively organized the learning activities around the mathematics curriculum. In addition, the faculty member connected the instructional strategies being taught in the methods course to the planned learning activities so that the roughly 1015 preservice teachers were able to contribute to the mathematics classroom instruction. In the case of Knox, the general and language arts methods courses were taught at Kennedy. The 20 preservice teachers annually enrolled in this class received instruction in content knowledge and pedagogical approaches before applying this learning to their respective work in six classrooms (kindergarten and second and third grades). These additional trained adults were able to complete assessments, interventions, and individual and small-group instruction.  


The faculty member from Bellarmine, the Kennedy second-grade teachers, and Bellarmine preservice teachers worked together to coplan and coteach math lessons three times per week during the semester. This approach is anchored in a community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998) that pursued powerful mathematics instruction through collaborative and coordinated efforts. These three different levels of professionals (faculty, in-service, and preservice teachers) aligned and coordinated their work to provide a level of mathematics instruction only possible with the additional person power provided by the math methods students.

Anecdotal surveys of the Bellarmine math methods preservice teachers indicated that they valued the opportunities they were given at Kennedy to connect theory to practice in a situated context. A participant from fall 2016 illustrated this in her comment: It was really helpful to discuss things in class and then try them out in the field (Preservice Teacher #4). Preservice teachers also commented on the value of engaging in this work as a learning community of students, faculty, and classroom teachers by being able to reflect on situations or lessons together and bounce ideas off of each other (Preservice Teacher #5). This is a valuable experience and one that we believe supports an important commitment to and disposition for collaboration.

In addition to the situation of the math methods course at Kennedy, the Bellarmine teacher educator attended an NCTM Interactive Institute with the team of second-grade teachers involved in the field-based delivery of the math methods course. As a team, they had opportunities to broaden pedagogical content knowledge around number and operations.  In addition, the mathematics teaching practices outlined in Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2014) became a common frame to investigate and develop mathematical instructional practices of the in-service, preservice, and university teacher educator within the context of the Kennedy second-grade classrooms.

The work of the Kennedy teachers provides a strong example of teachers as teacher educators. This concept aligns to the Teacher Preparation 3.0 framework (Zeichner, 2016) in that the preparation of preservice teachers becomes a shared enterprise between the school and the classroom teachers. Similarly, the Kennedy teachers commitment to working on their own practices with respect to mathematics teaching serves as a valuable model to preservice teachers.

The most significant learning self-reported by preservice teachers involved in the math methods coursework was their transformation to believing that Kennedys students are capable of achieving rigorous learning goals with appropriate and targeted instructional support. The evidence of this shift was voiced by the preservice teachers as they saw themselves asking questions that elicited student thinking/reasoning, and then using the students responses to build conceptual understanding. A preservice teacher commented, The biggest things Ive learned at Kennedy about teaching mathematics are that academic language is very important and questioning to hear student voice to understand their mathematical thinking is key (Preservice Teacher #6). This belief that students can reason, given the opportunity to engage in activities that involve them in sense making, was a significant shift from a teacher-centered view of mathematics to a student-centered focus on learning. The major shifts of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) require that students not only be able to do math, but also understand math. This was a huge shift in thinking for preservice teachers and one that was facilitated by the authentic work of teaching mathematics in a school setting as part of a larger learning community. It was also facilitated by their participation in a community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998). They discussed the impact of working collaboratively with fellow preservice teachers to (a) engage with Kennedys students, (b) plan lessons to meet the specific learning needs of their students, (c) talk with mentor teachers regarding students and instructional practice, (d) engage in rehearsals of lessons and give specific feedback connected to ideas presented in class, knowledge of students assets, and possible misconceptions, and (e) connect to instruction by second-grade teachers at Kennedy. Preservice teachers and faculty saw themselves as a member of a larger learning community.  


The Knox masters-in-teaching literacy and general methods courses situated at Kennedy provided similar benefits as the embedded math instruction. The professor of these courses taught both classes to all 20 of the Knox elementary education masters-in-teaching preservice teachers regardless of their internship placement. The benefits reported by the Knox preservice teachers echoed those made by the Bellarmine math preservice teachers. The most common theme identified in the Knox students responses affirmed the benefits of working with students on academic skills in real-life settings. One preservice teacher articulated this sentiment in her statement that the situated course gives us a hands-on experience that shows us exactly what our book has been talking about. The teachers show the different teaching strategies/methods that we had learned about all semester (Preservice Teacher #7). Another preservice teacher reported that the situated coursework created real world practicality as opposed to other methods classes which are dealing with a theoretical classroom (Preservice Teacher #8). The preservice teachers involved in these authentic experiences credited them with cementing a deeper understanding of content knowledge and student learning as a direct result of the interplay of both elements simultaneously.

Additionally, the Knox professors presence on site for a full day each week was an important contributing factor in the university partners ability to establish trust with the Kennedy teachers. For example, during the second year of the situated literacy coursework, the professor was able to expand the intern-provided intervention services from two second-grade classrooms to six primary-level classrooms, thus greatly increasing the number of Kennedy students served. In addition to the university grant leaders involvement in regular steering team meetings, this increased physical presence and engagement led to increased relational trust, which resulted in academic benefit for both the Kennedy and Knox students. For example, in fall 2014, 100% of the 36 second- and fourth-grade students made gains in fluency and comprehension, the literacy skills the preservice teachers targeted in their on-site instruction. Similarly, during that term, 100% of the university students made measurable gains in understanding and using assessments in teaching fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.  

In addition to the pedagogical skill gains, preservice teachers who were not completing their internship at Kennedy reported increased understanding of the impact of poverty and the need for cultural competency as stressed in their masters-in-teaching coursework. One preservice teachers reflection on the situated literacy course was summed up in this way: I learned about the varying academic levels of students living in poverty. Also, the grit and persistence of some of these students (Preservice Teacher #9). Another preservice teacher shared that she greatly valued learning about the differences between a Title I school and my [student teaching] placement (Preservice Teacher #10). The situated coursework allowed preservice teachers who were placed in more affluent schools for their student teaching internship to gain valuable experience working with students and teachers in a poverty-impacted, high-mobility school. This aligns to the community teacher vision, offered by Murrell (2001), that encourages preservice teachers to draw on richly contextualized knowledge of culture, community, and identity of their professional work with children and families in diverse urban communities (p. 4).


As was discussed in the opening section regarding the focus on developing additional supports, the extended learning opportunities program has become an anchor effort in the partnership. Toward the end of the second year of the partnership (2014) a team from Kennedy (teachers, principal assistant, and principal) and the universities (faculty) traveled to Seattle, Washington, to visit The Seattle Childrens Zone, a place-based university/neighborhood partnership initiative. A key component of this initiative was the provision of additional student supports through the delivery of after-school extended learning opportunities programs at the elementary school. The result of this trip was the development and delivery of the extended learning opportunities program at Kennedy. This schooluniversity partnership initiative was implemented throughout the academic year, two to three days per week.   

Importantly, the extended learning opportunities program provided a mechanism for the universities to increase their presence beyond the placement of student teachers to include additional preservice teachers to staff the extended learning opportunities programs as both service learning practica students and paid educator interns. Additionally, the extended learning opportunities program provided a core platform for the partnership to anchor our work in the community teacher framework. A recent preservice teacher commented that the most powerful part of the extended learning opportunities was being able to interact with the community of Riverside in some way . . . [it] really makes living here more like home (Preservice Teacher #11). This example provides an important perspective on how community teachers see themselves as a part of a larger constellation of effort to work in solidarity with community members to help realize the conditions that allow better access to the social preconditions for learning in school (Kretchmar & Zeichner, 2016, p. 429).

The extended learning opportunities program has also provided important learning opportunities for preservice teachers from both universities. This has been an area of growth for both Kennedy and the partners. In particular, the attendance has hovered around 100 students staying after school two to three days per week. In addition to the strong turnout on the part of the Kennedy students, this has been an important environment for an increasing number of Bellarmine and Knox preservice teachers to provide additional student supports while also developing their skills as preservice teachers. As one preservice teacher put it, Extended learning opportunities is . . . an amazing opportunity. It was one of the most beneficial experiences I had at Kennedy (Preservice Teacher #12).

A recent preservice teacher who was also heavily involved in the extended learning opportunities program made an important comment: Working in the extended learning opportunities program has been extremely influential in helping to build my confidence in this role. . . I have truly felt that the confidence Im gaining from the extended learning opportunities has transferred over to my role in the classroom and I am so grateful for that (Preservice Teacher #13). Similarly, the following preservice teacher described the importance of the extended learning opportunities in helping her to develop her skills as a beginning teacher: Ive noticed growth within my management skills and confidence because of it (Preservice Teacher #14). These examples are important indicators of the value of the extended learning opportunities experiences for the development of new teachers skills and knowledge. We scaled up this initiative in part so that we could include more of our preservice teachers in this partnership.  

The evolution of the extended learning opportunities program was an important learning for our partnership as well. While there have been several iterations of the specific academic interventions, we have landed on a cascading mentorship model that will be maintained beyond the life of the partnership and carried into other partnership projects. The model includes a project leadin our case, faculty members from math or literacy backgroundswho is responsible for the development of the curriculum. The project lead prepares the lead teachers, who were typically students who had been involved at Kennedy through their field-situated methods course and so had experience in the school and knowledge of the school community and culture. The lead teachers are each assigned assistant teachers, who were lower division education preservice teachers. This model allowed for the thoughtful design of activities targeted to meet the needs of the participating students and prepared preservice teachers to deliver the lessons in teaching teams with various levels of experience.  

The cascading mentorship model created a situation in which preservice teachers may have begun their work as assistant teachers, experienced methods coursework at Kennedy, led an extended learning opportunities academic or extracurricular activity, and even occasionally matriculated into a full-time student teacher at the school. Our experience was that the extended learning opportunities program provided important opportunities for preservice teachers to develop a sense of teacher efficacy. The extended learning opportunities experience provided an added level of autonomy for preservice teachers, and they often commented that they were doing very meaningful work and getting their teaching legs at a level that sometimes does not present itself to a guest in a mentor teachers classroom.  


As mentioned in the opening to this case, our partnership is a story of intentionality versus eventuality; where intended to go when we started the partnership is not where we eventually have found ourselves. Our intention was to saturate Kennedy with student teaching interns to provide additional person power to deliver increased student supports. While we had early success with this model of saturation, we found that it was difficult to maintain because of fatigue, changes in personnel, and challenges to finding fit in the placement process.  

Alternatively, as our field-situated methods courses and the extended learning opportunities program took form, there were many more opportunities to saturate the school with preservice teachers. This evolution actually allowed us to increase our footprint with less of a strain on the school, particularly on the classroom teachers. Both of these models allowed for our preservice teachers to engage in authentic learning field placements while providing important support services. It is noteworthy that these support services (additional math and literacy support and extended learning opportunities programs) would not exist without the university partnersa significant consideration for teacher educators engaging in this work. Considering the ways in which individuals come to partnership work in order to create reciprocal value through mutually beneficial, aligned, and responsive activities is a key step toward successful collaborations between K12 schools and teacher education programs. Engaging all partners in ongoing dialog regarding project progression is critical for creating authentic learning for preservice teachers while also providing value to the school community.


As explored in Navigating Fragility and Building Resilience: A SchoolUniversity Partnership to Support the Development of a Full-Service Community School (L. R. Herrenkohl et al., 2019, this issue), this legislative project supported dynamic relationships between Blakeview Elementary and Mountain City University. An outcome of the collaboration was the development and implementation of a full-service community school model, which included the areas of academic excellence, family engagement, holistic health and wellness, and extended learning at Blakeview Elementary. Beyond what was described in that article was the impact of this collaboration and full-service community school model on the preservice teachers who were placed at Blakeview for their student teaching.

The data included in this section came from observations and semistructured interviews conducted over the course of the first 5 years of the project (20122017), which were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for themes. We took a case study design approachoften a participatory case studybecause researchers also acted as participants in the ongoing work on the ground (Flyvbjerg, 2001; Hijmans & Wester, 2010; Merriam, 2009; Penuel & OConnor, 2010).

Of the four pillars from Maier et al. (2017), which were outlined in this articles introduction, the efforts described in this case are most aligned with (1) family and community engagement, and (2) collaborative leadership and practice.

The preservice teachers placed at Blakeview were an active part of the full-service community school model, with experiences that spanned from their participation in Math Labs (academic excellence) to RULER implementation (holistic health and wellness). These experiences in turn informed the teacher education program and faculty practice, and influenced what the rest of the preservice teachers enrolled in the teacher education program, but not placed at Blakeview for student teaching, also experienced in coursework. What stood out to us, through our analysis of the interviews of current preservice teachers and graduates of the teacher education program who student taught at Blakeview, was the impact the families of Blakeview had on the preservice teacherspersonally and professionally. This case explores how the amplified voices of families from Blakeview Elementary impacted preservice teachers while student teaching and later into their careers as classroom teachers.


Preservice teachers had the opportunity to work in the multiple aspects of the full-service community school model and develop many relationships with people involved in all levels of the model. The most poignant and powerful were the connections the preservice teachers were able to make with families at Blakeview. Family engagement was one of the key components of the full-service community school model, and it involved families, teachers, school staff, and preservice teachers. With the preservice teachers ability to observe and participate in the development and implementation of family engagement initiatives at Blakeview, they had firsthand experience building and sustaining meaningful and reciprocal relationships with families.

Small cohorts of preservice teachers, ranging from two to six preservice teachers depending on the year of the project, were placed at Blakeview from September to June. Preservice teachers were already primed with experiences from their program with local community mentors who collaborated with several course instructors and coursework assignments oriented toward families. The coach (university supervisor, also an author of this article) played a part in orienting the preservice teachers toward families and communities in collaboration with mentor teachers and parent leaders, a group of two to four parents who served as a bridge between families and the school. As preservice teachers observed and participated in mutually beneficial relationships and exchanges with families, preservice teachers also had a chance to better understand what children brought from their own lives to school. Anh, a preservice teacher who completed her student teaching at Blakeview in year four of the project, shared:

In terms of community aspect. . . .  I feel like I'm learning so much more about my kids and what they're bringing in from the community versus, like, in my elementary school days, we didn't have that experience. It was just like, okay, you're at school, you're gonna learn and then you're gonna go home, versus here where it's like the Night of Hope and Festival of Lights, all these families are coming in and sharing their culture and their hopes and dreams, and I think this is something that I really want to bring in to wherever I work at. (February 17, 2017)

Seeing how families partnered with teachers and staff in efforts that went beyond academics also changed how preservice teachers saw children. Amelie, another preservice teacher who did her student teaching in a first-grade classroom at Blakeview in Year 4, shared how continually reaching out to families built her confidence in talking with parents. Talking with families taught me a lot about the importance of getting to know the whole kid (February 16, 2017).

Preservice teachers learned through positive and sustained relationships with families and the parent leaders. Table 1 displays reflections from several preservice teachers who were placed at Blakeview during Years 14 of the project. It was evident through our analysis that when preservice teachers are given the opportunity, what they learned from families impacted their teaching and their views on teaching children, and informed their collaborations with families and communities.

Table 1. Sample Reflections From What Preservice Teachers Learned From Working With Families at Blakeview Elementary

Preservice Teacher



When you become part of the school its not like youre going to be in the classroom and live in the classroom, but be all about it. So learn where the different places are, know the secretary, the name of the secretary, who is the custodian . . .  know what the building layout is like, what the neighborhood is like. Get an idea what families are going to be like, who are the families that are going to be coming in. So do a ton of that reconnaissance work. I dont know if thats the best word to use, but just doing a ton of work around it. And, that was a lot of work. And just always first . . . the first interaction with their mom has to be a positive one, so you know, always smiling, always talk to them. (March 28, 2016)


At the beginning of the year, my mentor teacher invited me to come along with all the family connection visits and that was kind of like to share who I was, what my presence was in the class. . . . That was a really fun way to just reach out and explain why I was there and meet the families. (February 18, 2017)


I can see the empowerment of those family connection meetings . . . you have that relationship established . . . its just very nice to have as many moments you can with those parents, connecting with them.

To me, [connecting with families] gave me affirmation but it was also motivation for me because again, I had connected to parents . . . I felt useful. (March 14, 2017)


You know being at Blakeview Elementary you see a lot of families around and talking to [parent leaders] you know seeing that community work inside the school and family work inside the school, it helped me realize that families want to be there and they want to know the progress of their students. Its an asset.

Just emphasizing that at Blakeview being able to see families go in and out of Blakeview so easily, its so accessible to them, which was really nice. And just knowing what they had to share was valuable. (March 20, 2016)

Each year, several preservice teachers would connect with parent leaders and families in different ways. Over the years, different preservice teachers could be seen chatting with parent leaders while they popped popcorn on Fridays, attended coffee hours, or just said hello in the hall with a smile. Several of the leaders and other parents also took a special interest in the preservice teachers at Blakeview, feeling a particular responsibility to help shape the teachers who would serve students in the future. The preservice teachers may not have always realized it, but the parent leaders were making careful observations toopaying attention to the moves the preservice teachers made with parents, often relaying to the coach (university supervisor) tips on how they thought the preservice teachers could improve or what they were doing well. The leaders were fully invested in having them be successful in working with families. Tessa, a longtime parent leader, recalled about the preservice teachers at Blakeview, They're ready to work. They have it in them. They want to learn as much as they can. I've seen them and they're friendly. They say hi to the parents and they talk to parents. That's a big plus (April 27, 2017).

Working with families also provided opportunities for the preservice teachers to develop their confidence. In many ways, student teaching can be a strange experiencebeing a guest in someones classroom (Ferlazzo, 2014). It can be difficult to find opportunities to make your own connections with people who are part of the school. Experiences with families helped preservice teachers feel more self-assured. Amelie shared how talking consistently with families helped her in multiple ways:

I think it's probably one of the weird things about student teaching in general, how to find your presence in the classroom, but I think by being able to talk with the families a lot, it just helped me be able to feel more comfortable and confident in talking with the kids too. (February 16, 2017)

These opportunities to connect with families not only helped the preservice teachers build confidence in working with families but also provided connections to their own experiences and motivation to continue on this path in their own classrooms. Anh reflected on her experience helping other Vietnamese-speaking families during an event supported by the parent leaders called the Night of Hope. Anh recalled,

When the parents were sharing about [the hopes and dreams they had for their children], I felt like I saw my parents in them almost. They would say what my parents would say. I would hear these conversations that my parents would have with my grandparents. It was like the exact same thing. They want their kids to be supported and successful in school because they came here so that their kids could be successful. . . . Yeah, Im here now for a reason and so I want to help more families. (February 17, 2017)

Additionally, the preservice teachers felt the investment that the parent leaders and the families they connected with at Blakeview had in them. Many of the preservice teachers personally connected with the parent leaders, reaching out with questions about how to connect with families or regarding an assignment or project. This investment carried over into their future careers. Pari, a second-year teacher who had student taught at Blakeview in Year 1 of the collaboration shared,

You know being at Blakeview you see a lot of families around and talking to [parent leaders] you know seeing that community work inside the school and family work inside the school, it helped me realize that families want to be there and they want to know the progress of their students. (March 20, 2016)

Pari continued that she continued building asset views of her students in her new school, even the ones who could be more challenging. During her first year of teaching, she could have taken a harder line approach with one of her second graders who was acting out, but because of what she had learned from the families she had worked with at Blakeview, she instead reached out to the mom and asked for her help. She was able to connect successfully because she had spent time building trust with the family at the beginning of the year. She saw and recognized the mom as a resource, not an obstacle.

Other graduates shared similar experiences, particularly around the support they received about conducting family visitsa visit between the teacher(s) and the family of a student at the beginning of the year that can happen in a location of the familys choosing. When the opportunity to do family visits presented itself through school initiatives, Talia, a first-year teacher, and Beatriz, a second-year teacher, who were employed at different schools, were able to take on leadership roles and even reassure their colleagues about the collective impact that family visits can have.

Beatriz, who student taught at Blakeview in Year 2 of the collaboration, commented that when family visits came up at her school, her colleagues did not have much preparation and were freaking out (March 14, 2017). She reflected that because she had the experience being really connected with families at Blakeview through doing family visits, she knew how family visits could help provide cultural and individual insights into children in her classroom. Beatriz could approach such visits without trepidation and could reassure her colleagues about their value. In relaying her gratitude for her placement at Blakeview, Beatriz said, That's another thing I'm very grateful for and I take that with me because I didn't do [family visits] my first year teaching here, but this year we are doing visits. I'm not worried about it because I've done them and they're so enriching and empowering (March 14, 2017).

Talia, who student taught at Blakeview in Year 3 of the collaboration, shared a related sentiment. As a first-year teacher, she continued to do family visits on her own because it was not a schoolwide initiative. Talia saw their value and was motivated to connect with families in a variety of ways, even though other teachers in her building were not doing visits. Then, at a staff meeting in the early spring, she had an opportunity to talk with colleagues about revisiting the topic of family visits and whether they were worth bringing back as a school practice. Talia shared,

At a recent staff meeting, we started talking about, why do we have a disconnect with what parents feel about school and what we feel about school. So we went through this process of asking why we are we not doing home visits anymore, when they used to. And I was very vocal about . . . this is so, so important. Because I saw with my [mentor teacher at Blakeview] when we went to a family visit, and with [my coachs] encouragement, how they work. So I brought that up to the entire staff meeting. We talked about it. (March 4, 2016)

An outcome of this meeting was establishing an event called Tea & Sweets, where Talia, her principal, and the school counselor held tea in the apartment complex across the street from the school, where many students lived. Talia also lived (and had grown up) in this apartment complex and shared the language and cultural practices of many of her neighbors. She was able to knock on doors and personally invite families to the event in their home language. The event was very successful, and Talia reflected on it being a beneficial connection for the families.

Talia also worked as a cultural broker between the other teachers in the school and the families with whom she shared a home language. She felt that her time at Blakeview with her mentor teacher, her experience with the families in her student teaching classroom, and the parent leaders really gave her a model to aspire to. Talia shared, The experiences [at Blakeview] with the families helped define me as a teacher (March 4, 2017).

Pari and Mateo, who student taught at Blakeview Elementary in Year 1 of the collaboration, were hired at the same school in a neighboring school district. They, along with another classmate who was also hired at the same school, began a family connections initiative. First, it started out with Popsicles in the Park; they would invite families to share a frozen treat one Saturday morning before school began. Then, they did family visits throughout September and October and continued with positive connections home throughout the year. These connections included text messages, phone calls, emails, and regular invitations to families to come into the classroom to either share or partake in their childs learning.

During their first two years as classroom teachers, it was Pari, Mateo, and their classmate who engaged with families in this way because they had engaged this practices at Blakeview. But as new teachers were hired, several more heard about what they were doing and joined these efforts. Mateo stated that he saw their work as the importance of having parents that are aware and that are informed. And are just really knowing that they are a part of the school. . . . Telling parents that the school is theirs too (March 28, 2016).

In addition to physical family connections, Mateo connected with families through assignments he created. Throughout the year, as a way to build classroom community while aligning with CCSS, he implemented a series of assignments. These assignments allowed for students to bring in an aspect of their family voice and experience in an effort to share what makes them tick (March 28, 2016). Mateo talked about one writing assignment he did about the importance of names and his students experience after interviewing her family about the origins of her name:

This time it was just magical, what happened . . . [my student] wrote this beautiful piece about how she never thought her name was important until today. She said, Until today nobody has made me realize how important my name is and how much I have to care for it and really protect my name because it's something my parents gave me. And it's part of who I am. And it was like, I can't believe you said that. . . . She's crying, I'm crying, the whole classroom, my whole classroom, is like, Oh my goodness. (March 28, 2016)


During an informal get-together with several of the parent leaders and preservice teachers during Year 1 of the collaboration, one of the authors of this article asked the leaders what teacher education could do when it came to sending teachers to their communities. One of the leaders replied, while pointing to the three preservice teachers, including Mateo and Pari, Send us more like them. Just as the preservice teachers who student taught at Blakeview felt defined by their experiences with families, the parent leaders saw and appreciated the investment the preservice teachers made in families. It was mutually beneficial and was grounded in respect. This aspect of the relationship was not lost on the preservice teachers and graduates. Talia reflected on what Mountain City Universitys teacher education program should continue doing:

Encourage us to do family visits. Don't tell us what parents want, but invite those parents to speak, but in order to invite those parents to speak you first have to make connections with them. You can't grab a parent out of a school and say come talk. You first have to make those connections. (March 4, 2017)

What has been a potent outcome in this collaboration between the preservice teachers and positive and sustained relationships with Blakeview families and the parent leaders is that the preservice teachers learning created a legacy. These impacts create a clarion call for teacher education programs everywhere to more fully integrate family voice into their teacher education programs.


The goals put forth by the legislature of Washington state were twofold:

[to] . . . implement research-based models of instruction and service [aimed at]  . . . improving student learning in low-performing schools; and [to] develop and implement research-based models of educator preparation . . . [determined] successful in building an educator workforce with the knowledge, skills, and background that aligns with the characteristics and needs of students in low-performing schools (Washington State Legislature, 20112012)

In an attempt to respond to the unique needs of each setting, the university, school, and community partners employed a grassroots approach to the development of their respective models of involvement. Subsequently, the revisions made to the university teacher preparation programs and joint initiatives ranged from simple revisions, such as alignment of schedules and course calendars, to more complex and multilayered changes, such as shifts in curricular content, service delivery, family engagement practices, and even individual perspectives. In spite of the unique approaches taken at each site, commonalities among the cases presented in this article reinforce three important findings in the research.


First, teacher preparation is most impactful when done in deep partnership with the schools, communities, and districts in which the preservice teachers are placed. This work reinforces conclusions that were drawn by the Holmes Group Report (1995) decades ago and still relevant today: Professors in schools of education must identify not only with their disciplines, but more actively with the public schools themselves (p. 17). The cases presented in this article offer models for how teacher education might enact place-based, place-conscious teacher preparation in settings where in-service and preservice teachers are able to learn effective core practices collaboratively with their peers. Those core practices are mutually chosen, modeled, and supported by the district and teacher education partners. For example, in addition to the standard practica experiences, each team implemented the practice of delivering some portion of preservice teachers coursework within the school setting, allowing for the immediate application of theory to practice. These practices are illustrative of Maier and colleagues (2017) first pillar: integrated student supports.

Another shared practice was engagement in joint professional development efforts. In the partnership sites, preservice teachers, mentor teachers, and other faculty and staff collaboratively increased their knowledge and skills in areas such as GLAD instructional strategies, intercultural communication, mathematics, positive behavioral intervention and supports (PBIS), underserved gifted and talented populations, and culturally responsive teaching. When public school personnel are actively engaged in decisions about preservice teachers preparation within the context of their unique school settings, both preservice teachers and the K12 students they teach benefit from the contextualization of instruction.

Additionally, the districts are benefitting from their involvement in preparing new teachers by having first crack at hiring them, not just having preservice teachers as extra person power while they are students. For example, Kennedy Elementary (Case 2) hired five preservice teachers, who had been prepared in this project, as full-time teachers. Moreover, because Baytown Universitys students complete their degrees in early May, their project partner school district changed its hiring practices to entice this particular group of prepared preservice teachers to stay. The district arranged to hire this group of teachers to work full time in late May and early June as daily substitute teachers. These contracts were issued in tandem with full-time classrooms contracts, which began at the end of August.

The positive outcomes from these place-conscious practices suggest the value of further research on the importance of, and strategies for, creating and maintaining space, temporal and physical, where preservice teachers can learn and apply theoretical knowledge in an immediate and authentic manner. For example, provisions for common planning time between preservice teachers and mentors, administration and university liaisons, and faculty and teachers, as well as dedicated spaces for collaboration and instruction, proved essential to the work of these partnerships. The results also suggest a need for further exploration into ways that universities, communities, and school sites can join forces in providing mutually determined professional development that is economically and professionally beneficial to all parties.   


The second similarity to emerge from these cases was confirmation that authentic engagement with the communities in which schools reside increases preservice teachers efficacy for working with families and fosters a deeper understanding of the cultural strengths and backgrounds of the students they teach. As the Blakeview case so clearly demonstrated, intentional collaboration between preservice teachers and family partners can produce a group of practicing teachers who look for and take up opportunities to authentically partner with families. Graduates prepared in this manner are taking on leadership roles in their respective schools and are active in their local unions as they talk with others about how working with families matters. These newly minted educators provide testaments to teacher education programs of the power that these connections have for people learning to teach. It also speaks to the powerful and imperative need for teachers (and leaders) who are ready for and understand their work to include authentic partnerships with families and communities as community teachers (Murrell, 2001; Murrell et al., 2015).

Further research into what Maier et al. (2017) identified as the third pillar, family and community engagement (that is, the ways family and community members can become intentional partners in the training of preservice teachers), could be helpful in increasing levels of family engagement and culturally responsive teaching skills in beginning teachers: both high-impact practices for improving student achievement.


The third connection that became apparent during the authors joint discussions of their work is the acknowledgement from the outset that growth through partnership efforts takes time, flexibility, and humility. It is critical that such collaborative efforts be given adequate time to grow, evolve and become established. If mandated programmatic components or rigid expectations are prematurely imposed upon beginning initiatives, the partnership may be doomed (Conroy, Jensen, Bainbridge & Catron, 1996, p.19). The partnerships described in this article benefited from the legislators wise decision to require a planning year followed by five years of implementation, which allowed for the thoughtful development of the innovative models that evolved.

By design, the site partners lived with a certain level of ambiguity as they tried out different methods for addressing their shared goals. Their commitment to a partnership responsive to the ongoing needs of all stakeholders required that all constituents open themselves up to unpredictable twists and turns, and even a few dead-ends, as they charted a path forward together. As highlighted in Maiers third pillar (Maier et al., 2017), collaborative leadership and practice are key. If transformative changes are to occur in the way universities, communities, and schools collaboratively instruct their students, those involved in the partnerships need to recognize the time investment necessary to develop, nurture, and sustain trusting relationships.

In summary, all these cases imply that the development of community teachers (Murrell, 2001) actively engaged in community schools (Maier et al, 2017) is as important to teacher preparation as it is to the success and well-being of the students and teachers, and the families teachers serve. Therefore, the authors believe that further quantitative and qualitative exploration of the intersection between these two conceptscommunity schools and community teachersis critical to the field of preservice teacher education. If universities wish to establish an equity-pedagogy characteristic of Teacher Preparation 3.0 (Zeichner, 2016) they need to partner with schools and communities to engage in contextually authentic practices. By making long-term commitments to working respectfully and responsively with communities, families, schools, and districts, university teacher preparation programs can help make high-quality community schools available for all children.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 12, 2019, p. 1-44
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22929, Date Accessed: 10/22/2021 10:07:47 AM

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About the Author
  • Kate Napolitan
    The Evergreen State College
    E-mail Author
    KATE NAPOLITAN is a member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College in the MiT program. Her research interests include community teaching, community-based teacher education, democratic education, and literacy. Her recent publications include an online commentary with Michael Bowman entitled “We’ve Been Here Before: Our Need for Historical Mentors” (Teachers College Record, 2018) and a book chapter entitled “Community Teaching as Agency” in an edited volume (2019).
  • John Traynor
    Gonzaga University
    E-mail Author
    JOHN TRAYNOR is associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Gonzaga University. He teaches in the undergraduate and graduate teacher education programs and has had an active role in developing and managing partnership efforts between institutions of higher education, K–12 schools, and community-based organizations. Dr. Traynor’s research focuses on the preservice teacher preparation, particularly in clinical settings, and partnership and collective impact efforts in support of K–12 student development. As an applied researcher, he works with individual schools to develop academic service learning and community engagement learning experiences.
  • Deborah Tully
    Whitworth University
    E-mail Author
    DEBORAH TULLY is associate professor in the School of Education at Whitworth University. Dr. Tully received her master’s degree in special education from the University of San Diego and her doctoral degree in educational leadership from Washington State University. Her background includes general and special education teaching and administration in public school settings, instruction in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing studies university programs, the development and implementation of an accelerated delivery model of teacher preparation for working adults, and service as the associate dean for teacher preparation and school partnerships. Her educational experience and research passions center on preparing educators to serve and support the whole child through curricular and instructional approaches in order to provide specialized and personalized learning; enhance cultural intelligence; and promote social, emotional, and character development. Additionally, Dr. Tully’s work involves engagement with school and community partners to simultaneously advance the education profession while improving P–12 learning.
  • Joanne Carney
    Western Washington University
    E-mail Author
    JOANNE CARNEY is a professor emeritus at Western Washington University. Her research interests include teacher learning in professional communities of practice and educational technology. One recent publication is “Doing Inquiry in Second Grade Social Studies: An Integrated Unit That Uses Digital Storytelling to Make Family and Community Connections” (J. Carney & L. Sadzewicz, 2018, in press) Journal of Educational Controversy.
  • Susan Donnelly
    Western Washington University
    E-mail Author
    SUSAN DONNELLY is a retired educator. Throughout her career of over 45 years, she worked in early childhood settings, school administration, and teacher education. Most recently, she was the co-coordinator of the grant project described in the article.
  • Leslie Herrenkohl
    University of Michigan
    E-mail Author
    LESLIE RUPERT HERRENKOHL is professor of educational studies at the University of Michigan. She is a developmental psychologist and learning scientist who studies how people learn. Her scholarship uses a holistic, sociocultural approach to examining how people learn concepts, develop practices, and transform their participation in activities that matter to them. She considers how social and emotional dimensions intersect with intellectual and academic perspectives in learning sciences research. As a designer of learning environments, Dr. Herrenkohl partners with practitioners to create equitable learning opportunities that are conceptually rich, personally meaningful, and culturally relevant and sustaining. Her funded studies and publications focus on learning environments inside and outside of school settings, with a particular focus on science learning. She has written for and presented to a wide variety of audiences, including students, school professionals, youth development practitioners, researchers, and policy makers.
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