The Governor’s Task Force (GTF) on Teacher Preparation for Early Literacy Instruction was created in June 2016 by Executive Order #1380.
The Task Force was charged with developing an action plan following the 2014-15 Statewide Study on Teacher Preparation for Early Literacy Instruction conducted by The Barksdale Reading Institute (BRI) in collaboration with the Mississippi Institutions for Higher Learning (IHL). The GTF membership, representing all levels of the education sector, was divided into three Working Groups to tackle their respective charges. A summary of the recommendations of each Working Group is provided below.
Working Group #1 focused on developing, disseminating, and measuring impact of statewide standards for professional development. The purpose of these standards is to ensure that all who are involved in preparing teachers for reading instruction utilize effective practices appropriate for adult learners and convey content that reflects the science of reading.
Working Group 1 submitted ten policy recommendations addressing these elements:
• Require all professional development service providers to adopt Standards for Professional Learning and standards related to scientifically-based literacy research;
• Support ongoing participant feedback of pre-service literacy courses and early literacy professional development;
• Alter licensure requirements for teachers and principals to require early literacy coursework or development in their 5-year renewal process.
Details of the ten recommendations are available on pages 7-12 of this report.
Working Group #2 focused on ensuring that all Early Literacy instructors in educator preparation programs in Mississippi can demonstrate content knowledge of the science of reading and model explicit instruction for teacher candidates.
Working Group 2 submitted six policy recommendations addressing these elements:
• All Early Literacy 1 & Early Literacy 2 instructors in both public and non-public institutions in the state will be required to complete specified professional development (or pass a written and performance pre-test) and demonstrate ability to model effective practices
• Assess the impact of instructor professional development requirement and build requirement into educator program approval processes.
Details of the six recommendations are available on pages 15-19 of this report.
Working Group #3 focused on collecting data related to preparation program and licensure requirements specific to early literacy instruction for all teacher (and administrative) candidates, regardless of preparation pathway.
Working Group 3 submitted five policy recommendations addressing these elements:
• Standardize entry, literacy coursework, and exit requirements for students in traditional undergraduate and alternate route teaching programs;
• Mandate that all special education, early childhood, and administrator preparation programs be required to include at least one course related to the teaching of literacy.
• Establish an independent board of professional standards to oversee program approval, licensure, professional ethics, and professional growth of educators.
Details of the five recommendations are available on pages 26-30 of this report.
Mississippi leads the nation in its multi-faceted approach to improving literacy, including this unprecedented Statewide Study and Governor-inspired Task Force specific to teacher preparation for early literacy instruction. This GTF Report aims to accelerate momentum of these efforts to improve literacy outcomes for all of Mississippi’s children by strengthening the preparation and development of Mississippi’s teachers.
# # #