New NC Community of Practice Aims to Improve Early Educator Preparation

North Carolina has a new community of practice around educator preparation for improving early literacy. The North Carolina Early Learning and Literacy Impact Coalition, supported by SAS, The Belk Foundation, and the University System of North Carolina, convened for the first time in March.

Members of the coalition are engaging in workshops to learn how to incorporate evidence-based practices in educator preparation program design, particularly around the development of literacy, numeracy, and student agency. The work is grounded in The Science of Early Learning, a new resource that summarizes current cognitive-science research related to how birth through eight-year-old children develop skills across those three domains.

Ultimately, the Impact Coalition will:

  • Identify opportunities to update and improve state policies related to preschool and elementary educator preparation, and
  • Consider how programs can engage in a process to transform preparation programs based on the latest research on evidence-based instruction that leads to student learning.

The North Carolina Early Learning and Literacy Impact Coalition comprises teams from five North Carolina educator preparation programs—Elon University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Western Carolina University and Winston-Salem State University.

The work will be guided by Deans for Impact, a national non-profit that empowers leaders at all levels of educator preparation who are committed to transforming the field and elevating the teaching profession. Deans for Impact has facilitated networked learning experiences with leaders of over 50 institutions across 27 states. In designing learning experiences, Deans for Impact aims to create inclusive and collaborative spaces that address participants’ real problems of practice, and provide concrete examples while recognizing the importance of local context.