Lipscomb University and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) are launching an innovative program — “LIFT Off to Lipscomb” — to prepare students in MNPS who aspire to enter the teaching profession and to create a pipeline of teacher candidates to return to the district to teach, President Candice McQueen and Director of Schools Adrienne Battle announced at a press conference23.
Through the Leading and Innovating for Future Teachers (LIFT) program, Lipscomb University will provide full tuition and fees for a cohort of 10 MNPS students every year to enter the teacher preparation program beginning in Fall 2023, which means a total of 40 students will receive full tuition through the program during any given school year once the program is fully populated in four years. The mission of LIFT Off to Lipscomb is to recruit and retain teachers in the areas most needed by MNPS. Through this partnership, aspiring teachers would be recruited from local high schools, prepared to be ready the first day they enter their own classrooms as teachers and return to MNPS schools. This includes early teaching contracts, personalized degree programs, experience with high-quality faculty, content and field experiences.
“Educating and inspiring our children is critical to the future of our city, our state and our nation. Partnering in this very important work to train up the next generation of educators is a significant way we can serve this community,” said McQueen, former Tennessee Commissioner of Education. “We are excited about the opportunity to help MNPS ‘grow’ future educators from within their local communities who will return to serve these areas and ensure that they will have an impact for years to come.”
LIFT Off to Lipscomb is part of a strategic partnership with MNPS and its new University of MNPS initiative. University of MNPS was developed by Battle to partner with colleges and universities to develop programming and supports necessary to meet current and future student needs for the system. Lipscomb University, with one of the top teacher preparation programs in Tennessee and in the nation, is a key strategic partner in the University of MNPS. This partnership is focused on four specific areas: preparing aspiring teachers; providing support and ongoing training for current educators and leaders; exposing students to post-secondary education options; and preparing students for life and work in a technology dependent world.
“With this partnership with Lipscomb University, we are matching the dreams of students in the Academies of Nashville with a comprehensive pathway from high school to college to becoming a teacher in MNPS. Lipscomb University is an ideal comprehensive education partner, with a proven track record for teacher preparation, that can successfully serve aspiring teachers, leaders and students with needs in our four priority areas,” said Battle. “As a higher education partner, Lipscomb is uniquely positioned to realize all aspects of this vision for every student known. Lipscomb’s College of Education and MNPS have partnered on a number of initiatives for years and this creates a more comprehensive partnership that will have a long-lasting impact on our students and our city.”
“There are specific needs that we have in training, recruiting and retaining high-quality educators in our system,” said Battle. “We serve a diverse population and have students who speak over 125 different languages. It is important that we remove barriers and develop teachers who reflect the city’s diverse population and we look forward to partnering with Lipscomb in this mission.”
Grow Your Own (GYO) partnerships, such as the LIFT Off to Lipscomb initiative, are strategies emerging across the country to help fill the teacher shortage gaps. GYO partnerships focus on increasing access and removing barriers to the teaching profession, filling shortages in critical subject areas, increasing the diversity of the teacher workforce and developing and retaining teachers from the local community.
In addition to the LIFT Off to Lipscomb initiative, future University of MNPS partnerships with Lipscomb that are planned include:
- Leadership development. This partnership strengthens professional development opportunities for current principals, assistant principals and aspiring leaders to better equip MNPS school leaders to manage current job demands while investing in their leadership competencies. This partnership may include administrative licensure, ongoing leadership training and support in early literacy, among other initiatives.
- High school connections. This initiative would expose MNPS students to the college experience, degree options and faculty to ensure readiness for future education and careers. This includes partnerships with specific schools, campus visits, small group connections, curriculum guides, summer learning experiences, pathways to success and pathways to college.
- Digital preparedness. It is essential to inspire and provide learning opportunities for students and teachers connected to the jobs of today and tomorrow, as well as to serve as a community hub for digital literacy. Benefits of this initiative could include an innovative space for career exploration, teacher training in digital literacy, experience with experts in the field and recruitment of teachers in these areas.
Lipscomb University’s College of Education is consistently recognized as one of the most effective teacher preparation programs in Tennessee and in the nation. Last fall, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) announced that Lipscomb University is one of 26 providers from 17 states and the United Arab Emirates to be recognized for quality and excellence as recipients of the 2021 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement. Lipscomb once again earned high marks on the 2021 Teacher Preparation Report Card released earlier this year. This marked the 10th year that state data on the effectiveness of new Tennessee teachers indicates it is one of the most effective teacher preparation programs in the state. In 2019, the College of Education was also awarded a $2.49 million grant from the Kern Family Foundation to develop an innovative leadership development program for principals focused on character, academic excellence and business acumen in the rising generation of leaders. Since 2013, the National Council for Teacher Quality has consistently ranked Lipscomb’s College of Education programs among the top 25 in the nation, ranking them as high as No. 1 nationally in 2014. Learn more about Lipscomb’s College of Education. www.lipscomb.edu/education.