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TDOE Innovation Grants Awarded to Improve Literacy Standards for Educator Preparation Providers

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS) and the Deans for Impact Organization (DIO) have received grant funding from the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) to develop focused coursework for future Tennessee educators. These grants, totaling $642,000, will support the development of literacy and trauma-informed coursework for use by all Education Preparation Providers (EPPs) in the state. This is in compliance with new law and State Board of Education rule, to help teacher candidates be prepared to meet the needs of Tennessee students.

With the passing of the Tennessee Literacy Success Act in January, the need for new standards for K-2 was realized. These grants will incorporate the Foundational Literacy Skills, use of high-quality instructional materials, and trauma-inforced instruction in lessons to support early grade preparation standards, with the main focus of the grant being preparation of future educators.

“Two teams, led by UT Knoxville faculty and researchers, are working in tandem to pilot and perfect content for elementary and special education pre-service teachers with the goal of better ensuring all teachers in Tennessee master the complex set of knowledge and skills to teach children to read and write,” explained Sherry Bell, director of Literacy Initiatives in CEHHS. “We are delighted to be collaborating with colleagues at other education preparation programs in the state to integrate content on foundational literacy skills instruction in their coursework, projects funded by the TDOE.”

“I am excited about what the TDOE Innovation grants will produce that will make the preparation of teachers more effective and even easier,” said CEHHS Dean Ellen McIntyre, member of the DIO team, in a quote to the TDOE. “These modules, developed in collaboration among many professionals from multiple institutions, will be designed based on essential research on the science of reading, instructional materials, and trauma-informed teaching. It takes a team to do this well, and I can already see evidence that the work is extraordinary. This has great potential for high impact on student learning.”

The Deans for Impact Organization is a non-profit organization dedicated to student education by providing teacher instruction and preparation, is working with UT in creating the content and coursework to be used by EPPs all across the state.

Learn more about the Impact Innovation Grants from the TDOE and how it will affect the future of student learning and educator preparation in Tennessee.