Demonstrated Excellence | Eastern North Carolina Now | East Carolina University is receiving praise at the national level for its innovation in preparing teachers for the classroom.

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    Publisher's note: The author of this post, Crystal Baity, is a contributor to ECU News Services.

College of Education recognized nationally for teacher preparation

    East Carolina University is receiving praise at the national level for its innovation in preparing teachers for the classroom.

    ECU is one of only nine institutions across the country and the first in North Carolina to complete reaccreditation through the Transformation Initiative pathway by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

    Following a visit in February, the council gave the ECU College of Education's Educator Preparation Programs its highest rating for the Pirate CODE initiative.

    The Pirate CODE, or Continuum of Developing Expertise, was designed to improve teacher preparation in five colleges at ECU. Led by the College of Education, the others are the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Health and Human Performance, the College of Fine Arts and Communication and the College of Human Ecology.

ECU education graduate Lisa Thomas goes over a lesson with a kindergarten student. Thomas was an intern in ECU's co-teaching model, which paired her with a veteran teacher.
    Some of the innovations highlighted include a co-teaching model, where ECU student interns and new teachers are paired with veteran teachers, and video grand rounds, where ECU students build observation skills before they go into classrooms.

    "Each one of these innovations have been refined based on data from students, faculty and staff," said Dr. Diana Lys, director of assessment and accreditation in the College of Education.

    Because of the programs in place, ECU teacher candidates enter the classroom with a high level of readiness to teach, Lys said. "Our graduates are better prepared to make a significant impact on student learning from day one," she said.

    The Pirate CODE model rigorously prepares students for clinical practice through experiences like student teaching and a national performance assessment, the edTPA.

    "Our new graduates are poised to be teacher leaders because of these experiences," Lys said. "They leave with a core set of instructional practices to begin their teaching careers."

    The UNC Board of Governors requires educator preparation programs in the state system to maintain national accreditation. The Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation sets a high bar, Lys said.

    "I would say it's an important designation for ECU and the UNC system," said Alisa Chapman, vice president for academic and university programs in the UNC system. "ECU is an exemplar for teacher education, using data and research and innovation to improve their practice."

    The council review team rated the college's Pirate CODE initiative as "well defined," the highest possible rating. Dr. Debbie Hill, a state consultant on the review team, said the ECU Pirate CODE "demonstrated excellence and preliminary proof of the effectiveness of strategies."

    The accreditation is valid for seven years.

As part of ECU's co-teaching internship, Sarah Young spent her spring semester working with a kindergarten class at Wintergreen Primary School. Young graduated in 2013.

ECU alumnus Demetrice "D.J." Baskerville works with a student in a class for students with autism at J.H. Rose High School in Greenville. Baskerville graduated in 2013 with a bachelor of science in special education. ECU has been recognized on the national level for excellence in preparing teachers for the classroom. (Photos by Jay Clark)

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