Defining Our Future

Transition Update Report to Board of Regents

Transition Update Report – President Benjamin J. Allen
Board of Regents Meeting – March 21, 2012

Thank you President Lang and members of the Board of Regents, for the opportunity to provide an update on Malcolm Price Lab School.

A transition management team has been established to focus on the key components of closing Malcolm Price Lab School.  We have a structure of ten teams specifically focused on these functions:  transitioning the K-12 students, employee transitions, developing clinical experiences for the teacher education students, relocating the Child Development Center, enhancing Communication efforts, determining next steps for the Building and the contents, Student Records, Donor relationships, retaining MPLS historical aspects, and implementing the new Research and Development model.

I would like to provide you an update on three of the transition teams.

The purpose of the K-12 Students’ Transition team is to provide seamless and personalized connections to new schools for the students.  Parents and students had the opportunity to visit with eight local school district representatives on March 5 at the Price Lab School.  Two additional events are occurring this week (March 20 and 22) for parents and students to individually visit with school guidance counselors and teachers from area schools.  Some of the local school districts are also hosting open houses and other venues to provide options for students to visit their school.  The team is focused on working personally with each student and their family, and to ensure we abide with all state statutes for transferring student records.

The Clinical Experiences team is responsible for implementing a collaborative distributive model to place teacher education students in area schools for observation, tutoring, co-teaching, and student teaching.  This includes the Level II and some Level III experiences that have been at Malcolm Price Lab School.  The model will include assignment of faculty members in the schools to teach site-based courses, supervise and place teacher education students, and provide professional development for practicing teachers.  This team has already met several times and is meeting again next Monday.  The Coordinator of Field Experiences is meeting with the site coordinators next week.  

The objective is to design and place students in clinical experiences that offer diverse and authentic settings to enhance their teaching effectiveness.  Two models for Level II experiences have been developed.  One model is addressing the immediate (fall 2012) clinical experiences, while another model is exploring innovative ideas for future clinical experiences.

All issues being raised by students are being addressed.  For example, any concerns related to transportation and proximity are being resolved to accommodate clinical experiences within the students’ instructional day.

In fact, a car pooling system is already in-place for Level I students and may be expanded upon for Level II and III experiences.  There are already 60 car-pool groups in-place for 300 students in Level I.

The design of the Research and Development Center Team is being led by the Teacher Education Executive Council.  The Council is convened by the Associate Provost of Academic Affairs and is comprised of the four college deans, the elementary and secondary teacher education coordinators, and three representatives of the teacher education faculty.

The new model will capitalize on the breadth of university disciplinary expertise from across campus.  We envision a “think tank” model wherein critical research questions would be identified and research would be theoretical, empirical and applied.  Funding arrangements would be established to allow and encourage visiting scholars from Iowa State University, University of Iowa and other universities, practitioners, Department of Education staff, and other experts to be engaged, depending on the project.  Work will be done with partner school districts on research initiatives that enhance students’ performance.  These research initiatives could be organic based on the needs of the school as well as specified based on the research needs of the state.  For example, the center could focus on a state need for generating, piloting, and researching the effectiveness of project-based education in a competency-based teaching and learning environment.  Another example would be focused on educational policy in which areas of parental engagement, human capital, staffing models, administrative practices, and finance might be addressed. 

The center would also act as a clearinghouse for innovative pedagogical techniques and curriculum design and development.  The center would create a repository of innovative research and practices that PK-12 teachers throughout the state can access.  Maximum use of technology will be used to disseminate research findings and engage practitioners.

The center would also be the site in which Iowa’s schools could seek support for professional development, design of assessment systems, the modeling of best practices, and the showcasing of transformative research.  This component of the center will also coordinate the distribution of services of other UNI centers and programs that have a PK-12 dissemination focus.  Examples include the Regents’ Center for Early Developmental Education; the Center for Disability Studies in Literacy, Language, and Learning; the Freeburg Early Childhood Program; the Richard O. Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy; and the Center for Teaching and Learning Mathematics. 

In summary, the proposed Iowa’s Research and Development Center for Education Innovation will:

  • Be the clearing house for education innovation;
  • Conduct transformative research;
  • Provide professional development for practicing teachers;
  • Broaden the arena of practice for preservice teachers; and
  • Synergize existing services of other active PK-12 centers across the university.

During this transition time, the various teams are meeting regularly and reporting bi-weekly on their progress.  Updates on the plans and action of each team will be available to the Board in April.

Questions were addressed by Dean Dwight C. Watson and President Benjamin J. Allen following the update.