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Oklahoma State University

Applications for Urban Teacher Prep Academy Available Now

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Applications are currently available for the Urban Teacher Prep Academy (UTPA), an OSU partnership with Oklahoma City Public Schools in which pre-service College of Education teaching candidates receive financial support, professional development and excellent preparation to teach in diverse school settings.

Pre-service candidates can pick up an application outside 325M in Willard Hall or email Dr. Robin Fuxa (robin.fuxa@okstate.edu) requesting an application. The current application is for those who will intern Spring 2017; a late application window has also been opened for those who will intern Fall 2016.  The application deadline is Monday, March 21. 

About UTPA 

The UTPA is designed to provide a one-year, partially paid internship using a co-teaching model for clinical practice. Students receive tuition support, teacher’s assistant salary and benefits beginning on week 13 of the internship, two years of induction support, enhanced curriculum for student teachers, unique learning experiences and high quality, learner-driven professional development each month. Candidates also receive a $200 grant for classroom supplies and a cost-of-living stipend provided by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation. 

 “The support, beyond the financial, for UTPA candidates is two-fold through mentoring and professional development: candidates co-teach for a full year with an exceptional mentor, giving them more tools to be successful; secondly, there is ongoing support through professional development in UTPA,” said Robin Fuxa OSU’s UTPA coordinator and Academy board member. “Both benefits work in tandem to make sure candidates have a successful start. Content knowledge and culturally-responsive teaching methods are both essential, and our candidates are very well-prepared in these areas.  High needs schools, however, struggle with teacher retention even among the most prepared candidates.

 “UTPA candidates are encouraged to recognize the strengths children in a richly-diverse setting bring and build upon them in order to teach successfully and forge meaningful connections with students and their families, which we know is at the heart of successful teaching and learning.

UTPA candidates have a support system very unique to the program.

 “Opportunities to share successes and navigate difficulties together with the support of a highly successful mentor and a cohort of colleagues from multiple institutions provide a strong foundation for a successful internship and early career,” Fuxa said. “When we work together to remove barriers for students’ success and celebrate victories together, the isolation and related stress of being a new teacher is minimized. With UTPA beginning its seventh year in July of 2016, candidates and early career educators have a growing professional family on whom they can rely.” 

The academy offers teacher candidates unique support beginning before their first student teaching semester and throughout the next two years.

“The academy actually begins the preceding semester with orientation and getting to know Oklahoma City. Academy students do some outreach and service before they are there full-time,” Fuxa said. “We believe this is critical particularly for the candidates who are not from the school community to get acclimated, getting to know the site culture and the overall vibe of the school. It’s really important for them to get to know the children and the families they will serve to make it a successful experience for everyone.” 

After the academy, completing candidates get priority hiring in the district and priority site selection for where they see themselves fitting within the district.  Because candidates graduate and certify on the same timeline as their non-UTPA peers, they are also eligible to request “early entrance” to seek their own classroom in OKCPS after only one internship semester if they prefer. 

Funded by Oklahoma City Public Schools, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, and Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, UTPA is a consortium between Oklahoma City Public Schools, the University of Central Oklahoma, the University of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State University with Mid-America Christian University poised to join next fall.

“Ideally, [OSU] would have 8-10 candidates who are each excited about and committed to teaching in Oklahoma City,” Fuxa said.