UF Lastinger Center's Master Teacher program named nation's best
The graduate-school component of the University of Florida’s groundbreaking Florida Master Teacher Initiative has won the Association of Teacher Educators' coveted 2011 Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Award.
The Florida Master Teacher Initiative’s Teacher Leadership for School Improvement Program offers highly effective, free, on-the-job graduate degrees to teachers in Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Duval and Collier counties’ most vulnerable schools.
The program – a joint effort of the UF College of Education’s Lastinger Center and School of Teaching and Learning – earned the award for exemplifying “collaboration between local education agencies and institutions of higher education in program development and administration,” according to the association’s website.
“What began as a boutique program with 40 teachers from two districts has become one of the fastest growing graduate programs in the state,” Lastinger Associate Director Alyson Adams said. “It’s growing because teachers and districts recognize the impact this program has on teacher quality, teacher leadership and, ultimately, student learning.”
This is the latest in a series of major recognitions that the initiative has received in recent months. The U.S. Department of Education recently named it one of the country’s top educational programs, awarding it a $6 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant that included a $1 million match from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
“We’re increasingly told that what we’ve been creating in high-need schools in Florida in the past several years now serves as a national model for all public schools,” Lastinger Director Don Pemberton said.
Professor Nancy Dana, a global expert on professional development who teaches and conducts research in the program, views the award as a call for expanding it around the country.
The award places the program on a “national stage,” she said. “In this capacity, it’s positioned to impact the ways teacher education is conceptualized and enacted throughout the nation.”
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