Urban Teachers Tops List for Innovation in Texas Teacher Prep

Urban Teachers, Dallas has been recognized by the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) as the state’s No. 1 innovative teacher preparation pipeline for its authentic, practiced-based educator development practices.

Our program was recognized with the SBEC’s Innovative Preparation Commendation in part for:

-Giving 100 percent of our aspiring educators real-world experience guided by skilled coaches.

-Fostering strong partnerships with school district and campus leadership.

-Using data to drive continuous improvement.

There are over 100 education preparation programs (EPPs) in Texas. Just a dozen advanced for review by SBEC, and of those, Urban Teachers received the highest scores across six categories — alignment with SBEC’s request for information, alignment between an EPP’s practice-based innovations and the rest of its program, inclusion of innovation as a part of continuous improvement, demonstrated success, and support and information from candidates, districts and other partners.

“At Urban Teachers, our willingness to innovate and continuously improve our program ensures we provide the best preparation for aspiring teachers,” said Emily Garcia, Executive Director of Urban Teachers, Dallas. “Our approach to teacher preparation includes a rigorous academic foundation, extensive real-world practice, and coaching relationships rooted in meeting the needs of all students.”

SBEC Board members noted that Urban Teachers stood out among the dozen programs it evaluated. Specifically, the organization’s standards for recruiting a high-quality, diverse candidate pool; creating a tiered journey to becoming a teacher of record; and committing to long-term coaching, make it a highly valuable program.

“We know the magic happens in the coaching and the ongoing training and support in that practice-based preparation. What begins in the residency model only continues forward,” said Melissa Yoder, Manager of Educator Standards and Testing for TEA.

SBEC focused this commendation on innovation in order to identify bellwethers in teacher preparation. Ultimately, evaluating and recognizing programs like Urban Teachers will drive the state toward greater success and quality in its teacher development standards.

Urban Teachers is transforming teacher preparation by providing a pipeline of effective, diverse teachers who stay in the classroom and create environments where students thrive. Our lengthy preparation arc, with deep support and clinical practice, helps educators develop a rich and inclusive instructional toolkit as well as culturally responsive mindsets and habits that value and build on the strengths of all students.

For more about our program or to apply to join our next cohort of aspiring educators, visit urbanteachers.org/apply.