UCLA’s IMPACT Receives Over $8 Million From Federal Teacher Quality Partnership Grant

Program at UCLA's Center X will receive funds for recruitment and training of STEM teachers.

On Sept. 25, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the award of $35 million nationwide, for 24 new partnerships between universities and high-need school districts that will recruit, train and support more than 11,000 teachers over the next five years, primarily in STEM fields, including UCLA’s IMPACT Urban Teacher Residency program, which will receive $8,082,065. These awards are the culmination of this year’s Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant competition that President Obama announced in May at the White House Science Fair.

“UCLA Ed &IS is reframing the conversations on education from theory to practice,” says Associate Dean for Community Programs Jody Priselac. “And IMPACT is a perfect example of how we are informing those discussions. The work of IMPACT is groundbreaking in learning what it means to prepare and support teachers who are committed to social justice, instructional excellence and caring about all of their students’ success.  Congratulations to Dr. Francois and her team on this very exciting, transformative work.”

IMPACT (Inspiring Minds through a Professional Alliance of Community Teachers) was established at Center X in 2009 in order to prepare high quality teachers through a teacher residency model. The residency brought teacher candidates from UCLA’s Department of Education together with accomplished teachers throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District for an apprenticeship experience that has benefitted both students and mentors alike.

The program partnered with the Center for Powerful Public Schools and LAUSD to match teacher candidates with accomplished mentor teachers who provided hands-on engagement to introduce new teachers to the profession. The 18-month residency began for each cohort in August, when LAUSD teachers are actually back on the job for professional development and planning for the start of the academic year.

The new award provides Center X and its partners with an opportunity to enhance and expand the work of IMPACT by engaging elementary and secondary teachers in STEM-focused schools in Los Angeles, supporting mentor development and teacher leadership through a collaboration with the Principal Leadership Institute, bringing Inner-City Arts and NASA resources into the teacher education program, and building upon the lessons learned and successes of integrating multiple measures of teacher evaluation into the Teacher Education Program.

According to Annamarie Francois, executive director of Center X and principal investigator on the TQP grant, “IMPACT is a real game changer in providing highly prepared K-12 STEM teachers to low-income communities of color. Making sure every child has access to a high quality STEM education starts with highly prepared STEM teachers.

“Through our original grant we successfully prepared 155 math, science, and early childhood educators in 32 high-need schools, supported by 109 exceptional mentor teachers. Now we’re poised to build on that success to prepare 96 new STEM teachers in 18 STEM-focused elementary and secondary schools within high-need LAUSD communities. That is the very exciting, transformative work of IMPACT.”

Above: Science and math apprentice teachers and their mentors in the IMPACT program attended a workshop at Inner City Arts earlier this year, and learned how to demonstrate physics principles by building a marble run.

L-R:: Vicki Lin, Joana Chen, science mentor teachers from West Adams Preparatory High School; Chanel Chun, science apprentice; William Colozas, science apprentice; Michele Yee, math apprentice, Rachel Haserjian, math mentor, West Adams Preparatory High School.

Photo by Jaime Park