LeagueTLC Innovation Express
Innovations, and New Developments with Information Technology
TEACH (Teacher Alliance of Colleges and High Schools)
at Green River Community College
colleges are the "missing link" in the recruitment and preparation
of future teachers. For the 40 to 49 percent of future teachers
who choose to begin their higher education at a community
college, opportunities to make connections to the teaching
profession are minimal or nonexistent. To address this critical
need, Project TEACH was initially established by a National
Science Foundation grant as a collaboration among Green
River Community College (GRCC), Central Washington University
(CWU), and six school districts to provide students interested
in education with a seamless pathway to a teaching career.
Beginning with recruitment programs that target underrepresented
populations, Project TEACH improves the preparation of future
teachers, especially in mathematics and science. In its
current phase, Project TEACH serves as a model for demonstrating
the role community colleges play in teacher preparation
through the creation of a seamless transitional path into
the profession. Four strategies for creating this path and
achieving the project objectives have been developed:
1. To recruit more talented students into the teaching
profession with recruitment beginning at the high school
level and focused on underserved populations;
2. To improve the preparation and retention of prospective
teachers through a new paraprofessional certificate
and a preprofessional degree in education;
3. To strengthen math and science in elementary schools
through math courses and interdisciplinary science courses
for future teachers that model interactive teaching and
active learning; and
4. To provide practical and diverse preservice field
experiences with mentor teachers utilizing interactive
methods of science, math, and technology education.
Project TEACH Results
Working with K-12 and university partners, community colleges
can and should play a significant role in helping to identify,
recruit, and prepare future teachers. Through a collaborative
network, Project TEACH has enhanced the quality of teacher
education within the region and proven that K-12, community
colleges, and university partners can work together to enhance
the teacher preparation process.
Project results were defined by progress within the four
key objectives, and over the course of two academic calendar
years, student and faculty surveys were developed and administered
to both GRCC and CWU participants. The quantitative measures
were combined with a series of interviews and observations
as qualitative indicators. A series of guiding questions
was developed to organize data sources and evaluation activities
as represented in the following tables.
more talented students into the teaching profession
with recruitment beginning at the high school level
and focused on underserved populations
What evidence is there that the project recruited more
talented students into the teaching profession?
and CWU student surveys
»Project TEACH staff interviews
The evaluation of Project TEACH progress toward this objective
was guided by the question: What evidence is there that
the project recruited more talented students into the teaching
profession? The success of the project's efforts to
recruit students who come from underserved populations and
lower income levels has been significant. Project TEACH
and GRCC are serving many nontraditional college students,
especially those whose economic circumstances require them
to work part-time while attending college. In the fall 2000
survey, 98 percent of the CWU students were enrolled full
time as compared to only 83 percent of the GRCC students.
The purpose of the survey was to collect data on student
demographics, course taking patterns, student achievement
(grades), and attitudes. Surveys were distributed and collected
during scheduled classes to increase response rates and,
following this methodology, virtually 100% of the students
in attendance on the day of the survey responded (78% of
those enrolled in the surveyed classes).
Evidence of the project's success in recruiting talented
students into elementary teaching is suggested by the increase
in the grade point average for high school mathematics courses
from 1999 to 2000. With the exception of Algebra 2 and Calculus,
the 2000 GPA for GRCC students intending to teach elementary
school was higher than in the 1999 survey sample.
Evidence of the effect of Project TEACH on students' attitudes
towards mathematics and science was collected and reveal
notable changes. It is likely that the shifts occurred as
a result of the new mathematics courses that were developed
and implemented as a result of Project TEACH.
As with the two previous surveys, the fall 2001 survey was
also administered to students at Central Washington University
(CWU), the four-year college partner in Project TEACH. The
surveyed classes included those with a high percentage of
juniors and seniors (97 percent of the respondents) who
intended to pursue a career in teaching (100 percent of
the respondents). Using the same methodology as the 1999
and 2000 surveys, the CWU survey was administered during
class time, resulting in a high completion rate of 81 percent.
A comparison of the CWU and GRCC responses on the attitudinal
portion of the survey suggests some significant differences
that may be attributed to Project TEACH. Former GRCC/Project
TEACH students are considerably more positive in their attitudes
about and confidence in mathematics. Responses indicate
that twice as many former GRCC/Project TEACH students "look
forward to taking more math classes" than their counterparts
at CWU. In addition, the former GRCC/Project TEACH students
are significantly more positive in their approach to problem
solving, a critical element in the Washington state K-12
mathematics standards and assessments.
One hundred percent of the former GRCC/Project TEACH students
report that they "usually do well in mathematics" - evidence
that the project is being successful in recruiting students
who are well-prepared in mathematics to the elementary teaching
profession. Further support is found in the survey analysis,
indicating 80 percent of GRCC students who report that they
have "always liked math" as compared to 35 percent of the
CWU students. The fall 2001 survey also asked students to
indicate the number of college science and mathematics courses
they have taken. CWU students reported an average of 2.8
mathematics courses, while former GRCC/Project TEACH students
indicated they have taken an average of 3.2 mathematics
courses. In addition to taking more mathematics courses,
the former GRCC/Project TEACH students received, on average,
significantly higher grades with an average of 3.75 in mathematics
courses compared to 2.97 for CWU students and an average
of 3.46 in science course compared to 2.94.
The data collected indicate that in the past two years,
Project TEACH made substantial progress in recruiting more
talented students into the teaching profession. Survey data
suggest a positive trend toward increased abilities among
GRCC/Project TEACH students who intend to teach at the elementary
level. The trend towards increased abilities as demonstrated
by high school and college courses taken and grades received
was most evident in the area of mathematics. In addition,
GRCC/Project TEACH students report more positive attitudes
towards and confidence in mathematics.
the preparation and retention of prospective teachers
through a new para- professional certificate and preprofessional
degree in education
How have the Project TEACH courses and activities affected
students' desires and abilities to teach elementary
and CWU student surveys
»Project TEACH student interviews
»Project TEACH staff interviews
toward objective two was guided by the question: How
have the Project TEACH courses and activities affected students'
desires and abilities to teach elementary school? Data
from surveys of GRCC and CWU students and interviews with
Project TEACH students and staff provided measures of accomplishment.
In the year 2000, Project TEACH accomplished the goal of
implementing a pre-professional degree for students who
are interested in pursuing teacher certification through
a four-year college/university teacher preparation program.
The AA Pre-professional degree in elementary education requires
98 - 100 credit hours, including 15 hours in the interdisciplinary
science series and 13 hours in foundations of elementary
mathematics (number theory, geometry, and probability and
statistics). With the implementation of the new preprofessional
degree, a number of courses, field experiences, and advising
activities provide students with opportunities to gain knowledge
and skills that are directly applicable to the elementary
classroom. Project TEACH students are consistently reporting
a high degree of satisfaction with their GRCC experiences.
Evaluative reports provide further documentation of the
effectiveness of the mathematics and science courses associated
with the preprofessional degree at GRCC.
The paraprofessional certificate program, also established
as part of Project TEACH, requires 44 credit hours and offers
an elementary or early childhood education option. An important
aspect of both the degree and certificate programs is the
practicum in which students gain experience in K-12 classrooms
and/or tutor students in Saturday and summer programs.
The impact of these programs and the support and advising
activities associated with them is evidenced by analysis
of student surveys. The results of the Fall 2001 student
survey responses by former GRCC/Project TEACH students compared
to those only enrolled as CWU education majors indicate
an extremely high level of satisfaction on the part of the
GRCC students directly related to their participation and
activities in the Project TEACH program. The GRCC/Project
TEACH student responses include higher percentages of "strongly
agree" and "agree" comments related to positive support,
active advising, and useful field experiences related to
teacher training and preparation of classroom leadership.
The early field experiences provided by Project TEACH are
especially important in retaining students. In interviews,
project staff reported several instances whereby, through
these field experiences, students have decided not to pursue
teaching. This represents another success of Project TEACH
as it demonstrates the effectiveness of the field experiences.
By providing students a realistic view of teaching, it allows
some to make a change in their college and career plans
before they have invested considerable time and resources.
Helping those students who may be considering teaching realize
that the profession is not to their liking and abilities
is an important role for Project TEACH that will in the
long run better serve education. Interview and survey data
indicate that the large majority of students find that their
GRCC classroom and field experiences confirm and support
their desire to pursue a teaching career.
strengthen math and science in elementary schools
through interdisciplinary courses for future teachers
that model interactive teaching and active learning
How have students' knowledge of, attitudes toward,
and confidence in mathematics and science improved
as a result of their participation in Project TEACH
and CWU student surveys
»Analysis of alignment between GRCC courses and state
and national standards
activities were conducted to determine progress toward Objective
Three. They include classroom observations, student interviews,
an analysis of the IDS course's alignment with state standards,
and pre/post tests of students' content knowledge and confidence
levels. The evaluation question guiding these activities
was: How have students' knowledge of, attitudes toward,
and confidence in mathematics and science improved as a
result of their participation in Project TEACH content courses?
As part of the curriculum design, Project TEACH courses
and activities offer a high degree of alignment between
the Washington state Essential Academic Learning Requirements
for science (state K-12 standards) and a new Interdisciplinary
Science Series, implemented as part of the Project TEACH
The Interdisciplinary Science (IDS) Series is a year-long
sequence consisting of content from biology, chemistry,
and earth science, with integrated mathematics applications.
The fundamental approach of the courses involves the collection
and analysis of data through extended field studies. For
example, throughout the year students investigate climate
and weather: how they are measured, how they change, and
their impact. Through hands on investigations and actual
application, students learn about science and how scientists
Student interviews substantiated the nature of the IDS course
content and pedagogy; their remarks to two key questions
are summarized below. Their comments provide further evidence
of the IDS course's success in modeling active teaching
and learning that is aligned with the state's science standards
for K-12 students.
What are the strengths of this class?
*Learning inquiry is the thing that has been the
most useful. I didn't have any idea what inquiry was.
*You're free to make mistakes and you learn more.
*The instructors really have a passion for what they
are doing. They are really interested in helping us be better
*I think it's a strength that they allow us to think
about how we might teach. I'm realizing that lecture might
not work for everyone. Kids are going to learn differently
and we need to provide kids with opportunities to learn
How has the course changed your ideas about how you might
*I'm going to use inquiry, experimentation, and get
*Your enthusiasm really affects students. Our instructors
are very enthusiastic about their subject. If you do poorly,
they think they've failed by not teaching you well.
*At times the instructors would tell us that things didn't
work the way they expected and they took the time to re-teach
*This is the first time I've kept everything from a class
(materials, handouts, etc). We can use a lot of that in
our own teaching, and that's one of the biggest parts of
A pre/post-test methodology was used to measure the effects
of the IDS course on students' content knowledge and confidence
levels. The instructors developed a series of standard questions,
called the Science Concept Inventory, to assess student's
growth in understanding important science content. They
administered the inventory to students enrolled in the IDS
course during the fall and spring quarters. In addition
to responding to each true/false question, students were
asked to indicate their level of confidence regarding the
correctness of each answer. In the spring, the number of
correct responses increased by 27 percent, with a significant
increase in students' confidence level for correct answers
was demonstrated as the average increased from 2.67 in the
fall to 3.88 in the spring.
The evaluation data suggests that the IDS series of Project
TEACH are proving to be useful vehicles in modeling effective
pedagogy while improving GRCC students' understanding of
the disciplines. There is a high degree of alignment between
the courses and the state standards for K-12 students. In
these courses, preservice students are learning mathematics
and science in the ways they will be expected to teach these
subjects in elementary classrooms. The data also suggest
that the focus on inquiry in the science courses and problem
solving in the mathematics courses is causing students to
examine their own understanding of content in new ways.
Rather than merely looking at the answers, the students
enrolled in these courses are also considering the "why"
of those answers-an indication of a deeper look at the content
than is traditionally presented in introductory level courses
taken by prospective elementary teachers.
provide practical and diverse preservice field experiences
with mentor teachers utilizing interactive methods
of science, math, and technology education
are the consequences of early preservice field experiences
on high school and community college students?
Maniacs and Summer Math Evaluations
of Tutoring Sessions
»Mentor Teacher Interviews
»Evaluation by Parents, Student Participants, and
to the field experiences provided through GRCC courses,
Project TEACH implemented two activities directly related
to Objective Four. Math Maniacs and Summer Teach are two
tutoring programs that provided preservice students with
opportunities to work with elementary students and mentor
teachers. The evaluation of progress toward this objective
was guided by the question: What are the consequences
of early preservice field experiences on high school and
community college students? Data sources included an
observation of a Math Maniacs tutoring session, interviews
with preservice students and mentor teachers, and evaluations
completed by parents, elementary students, and preservice
Math Maniacs brought together students and classroom teachers
from area school districts with GRCC students interested
in pursuing a teaching career. The program operated in four-week
Saturday sessions throughout the academic year. The fourth
grade elementary student participants were scheduled for
state assessment testing in the forthcoming spring. All
sessions of Math Maniacs focus on mathematical development,
with an emphasis on problem solving and graphing. Each session
included an opportunity for the preservice students to work
with mentor teachers to plan and prepare for the two-hour
session with the elementary students.
The Summer TEACH program was conducted in two local school
districts. The program aimed to accomplish two main goals:
(1) to provide meaningful classroom experience for tutors
who are possible preservice educators, and (2) to engage
elementary school students in a variety of activities to
strengthen and expand their mathematical knowledge and problem
solving skills. The tutors, who are high school, community
college, and four-year university students, work with fourth
grade students in small groups four days a week for one
month. In addition, tutors attend a two-day orientation
and training workshop prior to the sessions with students.
Evidence of the program's success is found in the survey
comments of participants and parents, all of which rate
the program as "successful and rewarding." Parents' comments
on the survey further confirm the benefits provided to the
The patience, dedication and enthusiasm of his tutor
and teacher is what my son needed to boost his self-esteem
level and skill level after a very hard year. He was sad
[as] the last day came closer.
My child had a great experience and [had] fun working
with a knowledgeable, yet a firm and understanding teacher.
I really appreciate her persistence and effort that she
demonstrated in motivating my child to do well in class.
Although not a focus of Project TEACH, the impact of the
summer program on elementary students' confidence in and
attitudes toward mathematics appears to include positive
outcomes. Post-survey results indicate that students' attitudes
improved substantially on the following four statements:
1. It is good to solve problems in your own way.
2. I like math.
3. The math problems we do are interesting.
4. I get excited about math.
The tutors' comments provide insights into the nature of
their learning as a result of their participation in Summer
This program has encouraged me to integrate math into
as many subjects as possible.
By showing students that math appears in everyday situations,
I hope to make them comfortable with numbers and problem
It has made me certain that I would like to teach and
has also opened my eyes to the challenges of teaching.
The experience that I have gone through has made me think
more about being a teacher. I have learned that the rewards
are much greater than the salary. The project has also shown
me how you have to handle each child differently.
The evidence indicates that the field experiences provided
in the education courses, included as part of the preprofessional
degree, coupled with Math Maniacs and Summer TEACH, served
to provide practical and diverse experiences for Project
TEACH students. The data collected confirm that the preservice
students, mentor teachers, elementary students, and parents
involved in Math Maniacs and Summer TEACH all experienced
positive outcomes as a result of their participation in
In addition to these field experiences, the local Teachers
of Tomorrow Club sponsors an annual Future Teachers Symposium
as an opportunity for preservice students to connect with
other professionals. These symposiums, completely organized
and orchestrated by students, provide opportunities for
future teachers to come together and learn among current
K-12, community college, and university educators.
Lessons Learned and Summary Conclusions
Project TEACH has enhanced the quality of teacher education
within the Green River Community College District, and new
collaborative endeavors support sharing and replicating
successful elements of teacher preparation throughout Washington
State. With support from the Fund for the Improvement of
Post Secondary Education (FIPSE), five community colleges
throughout the state have been selected to form Project
TEACH partnerships with their local school districts and
university teacher certification programs. Five Implementation
Sites have been selected for this project-Highline Community
College, Seattle Central Community College, Spokane Falls
Community College, Tacoma Community College, and Yakima
Valley Community College. These community colleges span
the state and provide a mix of rural, semi-rural, and urban
settings. In addition, they serve a large and wide variety
of underrepresented groups and school districts that are
experiencing teacher shortages.
In the two short years of its existence, Project TEACH has
met program, academic, and community objectives. The project
was implemented with strong administrative support and dedicated
faculty and staff. Additional elements of success include
the collaborative efforts of university and K-12 partners,
and a strong external evaluation plan providing a genuine
source of feedback and formative development. In addition
to the evaluation data collected over the past two years,
the project's positive impact is substantiated by additional
funding sources and new opportunities to serve nationally
as a model site for teacher preparation. The success of
Project TEACH is realized not only through data, but also
through the application and experiential learning of participants.
For more information, contact
Director, Project TEACH
Project TEACH Center Director