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College Receives Department Of Education Grant

College Receives Department Of Education Grant

August 2, 2001--The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded a $689,387 grant to the Teacher Certification Program (TCP) at Collin County Community College District. The three-year project, Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (PT3), will model effective uses of instructional technology in the teacher certification program and assist new teachers in integrating technology into their classrooms.

The grant will also help teachers meet new state-mandated technology requirements. The Exam for the Certification of the Educators in Texas (ExCET), the state licensure exam required for all those seeking certification in Texas, includes the following five technology application standards: that teachers use technology-related terms and concepts in their instruction, that they use the Internet to acquire, analyze and evaluate a variety of information, that they use task-appropriate tools to synthesize knowledge, that they communicate information in different formats for diverse audiences, and that they incorporate technology for teaching and learning the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) test. Individuals enrolled in the TCP will be required to integrate, model and facilitate these standards throughout their training regimens.

"Today's technology can greatly enhance learning for school-aged children," says Brenda Kihl, program coordinator for the Teacher Certification Program (TCP) at Collin County Community College. "It is essential that all teachers are trained to use these technologies.

The PT3 project will ensure that CCCCD's Teacher Certification Program is providing this training." The PT3 project will partner CCCCD with Plano, McKinney, Frisco and Allen ISDs. Each ISD will assist in the curriculum development and mentoring requirement for the technology-infused teacher preparation program.

"The college's Board of Trustees is very committed to developing collaborative educational programs that respond to the critical needs of our community," says Cary A. Israel, president of CCCCD. "Helping our local schools and teachers is one example of their dedication to serving county residents."

Four goals will be met through the implementation of the PT3 program:

(1) Modern learning technologies will be integrated into the TCP curriculum and CCCCD faculty and mentors will model desired technology-infused instructional strategies.

(2) Pre-service teachers in early field-based experiences will observe and demonstrate effective uses of instructional technology in their lesson designs and delivery.

(3) CCCCD will design, implement and evaluate a web-enhanced mentorship program for novice teachers and pilot two models for implementing the program.

(4) A replicable model for technology-rich, community college-based alternative teacher certification program will be developed.

Last fall, CCCCD became the first community college in the nation to offer a teacher certification program. Developed in response to the critical shortage of qualified classroom teachers, CCCCD's program initially offered training exclusively in technology education. During its inaugural year, 21 technology educators completed their pre-service training through CCCCD's program and are now prepared to enter classrooms this August. This compares to the previous year when only three individuals graduating from Texas universities took the state exam to teach secondary technology education.

The TCP also received a nod of approval recently when the Texas State Board for Educator Certification granted the college's request to offer certifications in three additional subject areas: secondary math, biology and history.

"We are excited about the opportunity to expand upon our already successful teacher preparation program," says Dr. Toni Jenkins, executive vice president of the college. "And we look forward to better serving our public schools."