CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A study of teacher-preparation programs at colleges around the country gives low marks to Wyoming.
The study by the National Council on Teacher Quality said Wyoming was among the 17 states that did not have a "top-ranked program."
Leslie Rush, associate dean of the University of Wyoming's teacher education office, said UW is working to improve its undergraduate teacher-education programs.
"Starting in the fall, we'll be examining all of our programs," Rush told the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (http://bit.ly/T7cJS5 ). "(We will look at) what improvements our own internal data collection (suggests) to see what steps we need to take to make sure that all of our students are fully prepared for classrooms."
Laramie County School District 1 Superintendent Mark Stock said UW has been reaching out to local school districts to discuss topics like teacher preparation and student teachers. "There's a lot more of collaboration between the university and schools than you might have seen in the past," he said.
Moving forward, Stock said, he would like to see prospective teachers spend more time as student teachers and possibly have an apprenticeship-like period with a more established teacher.
"What teachers have to develop quickly is classroom management and establish themselves as an authority in the classroom," he said. "That's something student teachers struggle to develop."
But, he added, few teachers are "all-stars" coming out of their training program.
"The mentoring and tutoring to become high-quality teachers is the duty of the district," Stock said.
Nationally, there were 26 "top-ranked" elementary programs and 81 secondary programs.
Top-ranked schools in the region include the University of Colorado in Boulder; Colorado Christian University in Lakewood; Jones International University in Centennial, Colorado; and Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
"The news is still grim in terms of the performance of the programs," said Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality.
The point of the report is to look at teacher quality, Walsh said.
The report says a low score for a program does not mean its graduates don't become good teachers. Rather, it points out that programs could offer them better support.