Milligan College and ETSU fare well on state educator preparation report

Brandon Paykamian • Feb 14, 2020 at 8:12 PM

The Tennessee State Board of Education hosted a conference call Thursday morning to give a preliminary look at the results of the 2019 Educator Preparation Report Card, which assessed teacher preparation programs at East Tennessee State University and Milligan College.

The report measures education preparation providers’ “performance in recruiting a strong, diverse candidate pool, preparing candidates in high-need endorsement areas and ensuring new teachers are ready to make a positive impact on their students’ achievement.” 

For the 2018-19 school year, Milligan College and ETSU joined seven other institutions of higher education in the highest performance category of “Exceeds Expectations.” 

Angela Hilton-Prillhart, Milligan’s chair of education, said Milligan has been working to improve its education programs over the years. She said the institution was “honored” by the designation.

“This designation reflects continued innovations within our program, such as dual licensure in English as a second language and an intentional focus on high-quality clinical experiences,” she said. 

Cindy Chambers, associate dean of educator preparation in the ETSU Clemmer College of Education, said she was pleased to see that ETSU-educated teachers are “having a positive influence on the lives of their students in classrooms across the state” after graduation, which is one of the ways programs are assessed. 

“This is a success story for ETSU and also a success story for our alumni who are carrying forth a tradition that began in 1911 when this institution was established as a teacher training school,” Chambers said. 

Johnson City Schools Director of Instruction and Communication Debra Bentley said the 2019 report card is an important reference tool for public school systems looking to recruit new instructors.

"One of the strongest in-school influences on students is the teacher in front of the classroom. Prospective teachers need good information to select the right program, and school districts need access to the best-trained professionals for every opening in every school,” she said.

“We are pleased that partnering institutions such as ETSU and Milligan College received the highest performance category of ‘Exceeds Expectations.’” 

School districts can use the tool when they decide where to recruit new teachers, while providers themselves can use the annual report to gauge their areas of strength and weakness. Prospective teachers can also use the tool to find education preparation providers that match best with their key areas of interest.

State Board Director of Policy and Research Amy Owen said the new report format was designed to be more accessible for prospective teachers, school districts, education preparation providers and the public.

“This year, we took steps to further increase the transparency and usefulness of the tool, specifically for prospective educators,” Owen said. 

“We spoke with current teacher candidates at several institutions across the state about what information would have helped them in deciding on which program to attend, and we used their feedback to drive an enhancement our of Educator Preparation Report Card website,” Owen later added in an email sent to the Press.

“These enhancements make the report card easier to use for individuals who want to become a teacher, whether that’s a high school student making a college decision or an adult looking to change careers.”

The metric in which institutions were measured was changed. Now, the report gives “more verbal explanations” of how well a school is doing. The report previously measured providers on a scale of 1-4.

Only two institutions assessed this year — South College and Bryan College — “did not meet expectations” on the state report. 

The full, in-depth report was released Friday and can be found at www.teacherprepreportcard.tn.gov. Additional information and archives of previous versions of the Report Card are available on the state website at www.tn.gov/sbe.  

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