University-based Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) produce the majority of new teachers in Arkansas each year. However, data show many teachers that do enter the profession do not believe they are properly prepared for the school culture or classroom challenges they face today as a beginning teacher nor do they believe they are prepared to teach their assigned subject areas. This contributes to the growing trend of beginning teachers leaving the classroom in their first five years.
In 2021, Forward launched the EPP Design Collaborative, a competitive grant program to identify Universities committed to addressing this challenge and support them with resources and guidance from national experts to develop plans for transformation. 16 of 19 University EPPs applied for the Design Collaborative and eight from across Arkansas were selected to participate. Participating Universities will submit their plans in Summer of 2022 and a subset will have the opportunity for additional resources and support for implementation over the following three years.