Clarksville, TN – In 2018, Austin Peay State University (APSU) helped redefine how school systems recruit teachers amid a national teacher shortage. That year, APSU’s Eriksson College of Education developed a groundbreaking partnership with the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) to provide 20 recent high school graduates and 20 CMCSS teacher’s aides with an accelerated, free path to become full-time school system teachers in just three years.
That model – the Grow Your Own Residency Program – proved so successful that it was eventually adopted by seven colleges of education and 35 school districts across the state. Just last fall, the Tennessee Department of Education awarded grants to support these programs in Tennessee.
Now, two of the architects behind that program – Dr. Prentice Chandler, dean of APSU’s Eriksson College of Education, and Dr. Lisa Barron, associate dean of the college – have collaborated on a new book of essays, “Rethinking School-University Partnerships: A New Way Forward.” The two served as editors on the project, contributing essays to the collection and soliciting work from 80 experts across the country.
“One thing is clear from collaborating with our school partners — in order to get different results, we must do things differently,” Chandler said. “If we are going to solve persistent issues in education — a lack of diversity in the teaching profession, a lack of teachers in high needs areas, a national teacher shortage — colleges of education must evolve and adapt to meet the needs of our schools. This book is filled with examples of educational leaders across the country doing just that.”
The book examines topics such as developing partnerships with rural schools to increasing equity and inclusivity in teacher recruitment. Chandler and Barron said they developed the book to provide educational leaders in K-12 schools and colleges of education with insights, advice and direction into creating meaningful partnerships.
“In the last five years, we have seen the positive impact of effective partnerships,” Barron said. “We have implemented innovative programs and made curricular changes based on the needs of our school districts that we serve. School-university partnerships are essential to what we do in the College of Education. Our partnerships inform our work and guide our vision.”
At Austin Peay State University, in addition to developing the program, the College of Education received four $100,000 state grants to support more Grow Your Own Teacher Residency initiatives. The grants will fund programs associated with the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, the Robertson County School System, and the Dickson County, Cheatham County, and Hickman County school districts.
Since 2017, the College of Education has secured more than $1.7 million in grants to support innovative programs within the college.
For more information on APSU’s Eriksson College of Education, visit https://www.apsu.edu/education/.