The UCF Teacher Quality Partnerships program is designed to recruit, prepare, and sustain highly-effective teachers with specific foci in mathematics to support students with diverse learning needs. Ongoing collaborative efforts ensure project services are personalized, job-embedded, and practice-changing for teacher candidates, supervising teachers, instructional coaches, and professors-in-residence.
Through this project, teams at the University of Central Florida and Orange County Public Schools collaborate to align resources and support for teacher candidates. In addition to receiving ongoing support from their supervising teacher, teacher candidates are a part of a professional learning community at their school site facilitated by a university professor-in-residence. The professor-in-residence engages teacher candidates in weekly conversations around evidence-based instructional practices for mathematics, culturally responsive teaching, positive classroom climate and classroom management, and teacher wellness and self-care. Professional learning activities are co-constructed and job-embedded to meet individual learning needs identified by UCF instructional staff, OCPS leadership and instructional staff, and school-based instructional coaches.
Learning from our Students
The TQP Project held Student Focus Groups with students from our partner site schools and surrounding communities. Project leaders and partners spent time with students asking them about their experiences in school, what they enjoy, how they learn best, and what they would change if they were in charge. A great reminder of why we do what we do in education. Highlighting the voices of students is key for enhancing educational practices in ways that make a difference for students!
Dr. Kim Anderson, is an Professor of Social Work and Public Affairs at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Dr. Kim Anderson’s scholarship focuses on examining trauma recovery and resilience in populations impacted by violence. For 25 years she has practiced and conducted research in the trauma field. Dr. Anderson trains school personnel on Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS)(group intervention) and mental health professionals on Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) (child-parent intervention). This talk will address empirical findings and conceptual insights for educators to assist people affected by violence and oppression to cultivate their strengths and resilient capacities and why understanding health equity is imperative in responding to educational inequities. Educators can learn realistic ways to practice supportive and reflective ways to tolerate and respond to negative emotions.
D.r Amanda Wilkerson, is an Assistant Professor in the College of Community Innovation and Education at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Dr. Amanda Wilkerson’s scholarship focuses on deconstructing culturally relevant pedagogical practices associated with teaching underserved student learners within the K-20 classroom. Her work explicates affirmative practices, policies, and organizing methods to leverage community partnerships and involvement for student learning. This talk will address community ecological contexts and community-school partnerships critical to transititions educators from behaviors individuality to collectivity impact and why understanding equity and cultural nuances are imperative in responding to challenges in the implementation of community engagement. An increasingly growing education population requires educators who actively pursue relational intelligence and community strengths.
Teacher Quality Partnerships ED Talk - Self-Care and Wellness; Dr. Shainna Ali
Dr. Shainna Ali, is a Professor of Counselor Education, Founder of Integrated Counseling Solutions, as well as a Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Dr. Shainna Ali’s scholarship focuses on exploring identity and culture, emotional intelligence, & creativity methods in counseling. Dr. Ali is a past president of the Florida Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, presently serves on the editorial boards for the Journal for Creativity in Mental Health and the Journal of Counseling Sexology & Sexual Wellness: Research, Practice, and Education, and is an ambassador for the International Registry of Counselor Education programs. She is also passionate about crafting research-informed, interactive presentations and workshops pertaining to mental health education. This talk will address embracing the science of emotional wellness and helping participants tailor a personal plan for self-care. Audiences gain an increasing literacy pertaining to mental health awareness, assessment, and maintenance.
Teacher Quality Partnerships ED Talk - Embracing the Art of Self-Compassion; Dr. Coralis Solomon
Dr. Coralis Solomon, is an Assistant Professor of Counseling, Rehabilitation and Interpreter Training at the Troy University, as well as a Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Dr. Coralis Solomon’s scholarship focuses on examining self-compassion and emotional resilience with minority teachers working in elementary schools. Her commitment to the mental health counseling field goes beyond private practice as she is a nationally and internationally recognized speaker and a published author in the area of mindful self-compassion and burnout in the job prevention. This talk will address embracing the science of self-compassion and why understanding one's inner critic is imperative in responding to maintaining educator emotional wellness. Mindful self-compassion for educators requires community, and an awareness of self-criticism and compassionate encouragements.
Dr. Kimberly Renk, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Dr. Kimberly Renk’s scholarship focuses on examining issues related to parent-young child connection, especially when families are struggling with problems in living, changes in caregivers, substance use and other psychological disorders, trauma, and abuse or neglect. Her research laboratory work, Understanding Young Children and Families, provides a forum for investigating a variety of Infant Mental Health-related issues, for providing evidence-based and trauma-informed services to families with young children who are 6-years of age and younger (through the Young Children and Families Research Clinic [YCFRC]), and for building community partnerships meant to better serve high-risk families and their young children in Central Florida. This talk will address evidence based best practices critical to building school community in the age of COVID-19 and why understanding health equity is imperative in responding to educational inequities. Educators can learn realistic ways to connect to be supportive and reflective with students, as opposed adversarial.
Dr. L. Trenton Marsh, is an Assistant Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Learning Sciences and Educational Research at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Dr. L. Trenton Marsh’s scholarship focuses on examining lived experiences of youth/families of color, conceptualization of success equitable pedagogies, policies, and processes in urban schools. His work explores the way in which experiences of low-income students and families of color inform equitable pedagogies, policies, and processes in educative spaces serving PreK-12 and higher education students. This talk will address socio-cultural contexts and practices critical to disrupting diversity deficit educational practices and why understanding equity and educational justice are imperative in responding to educational inequities. An increasingly growing education population requires educators who acknowledge disproportionality, disconnection and dehumanization to build relational resistance.
Learning with National Experts
Overhauling the Transmission Model Webinar with Alfie Kohn.
Dr. Kohn describes educational attributes of highly-successful schools.
Coaching Sessions with Professors-in-Residence
Teacher candidates have the opportunity to receive job-embedded coaching and support from their on-site professor-in-residence. Coaching conversations center around student learning and best practices, such as culturally responsive teaching, Universal Design for Learning, student engagement and self-care.
Publications and Scholarship
Pike, L., Herbert, L., Slanda, D. D., & Little, M. (2020). Digital sponsorship of pre-service teacher interns during COVID-19. In R. E. Ferdig, E. Baumgartner, R. Hartshorne, R. Kaplan-Rakowski, & C. Mouza (Eds.), Teaching, Technology, And Teacher Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Stories from the Field, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved from: www.learntechlib.org.
Pike, L., & Carli, M. (2020). Leveraging Best Practice in Teacher Residency to Enhance Teacher Preparation. SRATE Journal, 29(2), n2.
Shillingford, M.A., Herbert, .L, and Gaskin-Butler, V. (2020, in press). Eating Disorders. Shillingford-Bulter, A., Gonzalez, T. (Eds.), Demystifying the DSM for School Counselors. San Diego, CA: Cognella Academic Publishing.
Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India
What is it?
Culturally responsive teaching is an approach to enhance and engage student involvement through a variety of connections (Noguera, 2015). There is growing evidence that strong, continual engagement among diverse students requires a holistic approach — that is, an approach where the how, what and why of teaching are unified and meaningful (Ogbu, 1995; Kiyama & Aguilar-Rios, 2017).
Why is it important?
Culturally responsive, inclusive teaching practices lay the foundation for building content knowledge and support a positive classroom climate and community (Ladson-Billings, 2001).
To improve mastery of rigorous academic standards in mathematics and disciplinary literacy for students with diverse learning needs, using culturally responsive teaching practices within classroom and school cultures to develop safe, caring, and inclusive classrooms and schools.
- CEEDAR Center - Culturally Responsive Teaching Portfolio and Resources
- IRIS Center Module - Cultural and Linguistic Differences
Kiyama, J. M., & Rios-Aguilar, C. (Eds.). (2017). Funds of knowledge in higher education: Honoring students’ cultural experiences and resources as strengths. Routledge.
Ladson-Billings, G. (2004). Crossing Over to Canaan.: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms. John Wiley & Sons.
Noguera, P., Pierce, J., & Ahram, R. (Eds.). (2015). Race, equity, and education: Sixty years from brown. Springer.
Ogbu, J. U. (1995). Cultural problems in minority education: Their interpretations and consequences—Part one: Theoretical background. The Urban Review, 27(3), 189-205.
"An environment that is universally designed for learning shows students there are multiple ways to be successful, multiple ways to solve problems, and multiple ways to learn from mistakes."
Design for Learning in Action by: Whitney H. Rapp
What is it?
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an inclusive education model framework for teaching based on scientific research about how people learn (CAST, 2019). This framework considers and provides for all types of learners, ensuring access and opportunity to learn, understand, and connect. Specifically, UDL targets the way in which learners are Engaged, how information is Represented, and how students can take Action and Express their learning. UDL calls for the differentiation of these key networks in order to reach every student.
Why is it important?
Incorporating the principles of Universal Design for Learning into lesson planning is key to creating a foundation for learning that values and considers all ways of learning for all students. Curriculum standards seek a focus on high-level conceptual understanding, problem-solving and disciplinary literacy (NRC, 2009). At the core of this are principles of student engagement and the importance of making connections between content and real world contexts (Tarr et al., 2008). Approaching lesson planning through the UDL framework ensures that the needs and strengths of all students are embedded in instruction and activities, and that each and every student has access and opportunity to learn and grow.
To improve mastery of rigorous academic standards in mathematics and disciplinary literacy for students with diverse learning needs, by using the Universal Design for Learning approach to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.
- Inclusive Education Modules - CEEDAR
- About Universal Design for Learning - CAST Website and Resources
- National Center on Universal Design for Learning - Video Series Channel
Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). (2019). About universal design for learning.
National Research Council. (2009). Mathematics learning in early childhood: Paths toward excellence and equity. Washington, DC: The National Academies.
Tarr, J. E., Reys, R. E., Reys, B. J., Chavez, O., Shih, J., & Osterlind, S. J. (2008). The impact of middle-grades mathematics curricula and the classroom learning environment on student achievement. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 247-280.
"Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations or algorithms: it is about understanding."
William Paul Thurston
What is it?
Disciplinary Literacy focuses on teaching learners the unique tools experts in a discipline use within their work. It emphasizes the importance of the knowledge and abilities possessed by those who create, communicate, and use knowledge within the disciplines (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2012). In mathematics, disciplinary literacy means teaching students to think, know, reason, utilize, and explain mathematics like a mathematician (Hillman, 2014). Being able to calculate numbers does not mean a student can think mathematically (Piatek‐Jimenez et al., 2012). Thinking mathematically promotes and requires a deeper conceptualization of mathematics (Lee & Spratley, 2010), which is what disciplinary literacy practices seek to develop.
Faculty from UCF, TQP team members, and national leading consultants have produced professional learning opportunities related to mathematics and disciplinary literacy. The concepts included are grounded in the 8 Effective Teaching Practices from Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All (NCTM, 2014) and the Taking Action: Implementing Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices series (NCTM, 2017) from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
Why is it important?
In addition to helping teachers better understand the math discipline, infusing instructional practices focused on disciplinary literacy into mathematics education supports successful student-reader interactions with mathematics texts and facilitates authentic learning experiences that students can connect to (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2012). Teaching mathematics for disciplinary literacy assists students in developing subject-area specific knowledge and skills that they can translate to use in college, career, and the broader world (Zygouris-Coe, 2012).
To improve mastery of rigorous academic standards in mathematics and disciplinary literacy for students with diverse learning needs.
During Internship I, teacher candidates will receive professional learning on:
- Establishing mathematics goals to focus learning
- Implementing tasks that promote reasoning and problem solving
- Building procedural fluency from conceptual understanding
During Internship II, teacher candidates will receive professional learning on:
- Posing purposeful questions
- Using and connecting mathematical representations
- Eliciting and using evidence of student thinking
- Supporting productive struggle in learning mathematics
- What is Disciplinary literacy?
- What Literacy Means in Math Class
- Talking like a mathematician
- Writing in math: A disciplinary literacy approach
Hillman, A. M. (2014). A literature review on disciplinary literacy: How do secondary teachers apprentice students into mathematical literacy?. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 57(5), 397-406.
Lee, C. D., & Spratley, A. (2010). Reading in the disciplines: The challenges of adolescent literacy. Final Report from Carnegie Corporation of New York's Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy. Carnegie Corporation of New York.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). (2014). Principles to actions: Ensuring mathematical success for all. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Smith, M. S. (Ed). (2017). Taking action: Implementing effective mathematics teaching practices [Series]. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Piatek-Jimenez, K., Marcinek, T., Phelps, C. M., & Dias, A. (2012). Helping students become quantitatively literate. MatheMatics teacher, 105(9), 692-696.
Shanahan, T., & Shanahan, C. (2012). What is disciplinary literacy and why does it matter? Topics in language disorders, 32(1), 7-18.
Zygouris-Coe, V. (2012). Disciplinary literacy and the common core state standards. Topics in Language Disorders, 32(1), 35-50.
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
What is it?
Student engagement is meaningful student involvement throughout the learning environment, and includes cognitive, behavioral, and emotional engagement (Martin & Torres, 2016). Empowering teachers to consider multiple methods of engagement and the individual backgrounds and characteristics of their students when planning for their classroom is key. Creating an environment that reflects and provides for each individual not only engages every learner, but shows value for the learning and well-being of all students.
Why is it important?
Educational research has long shown that classroom communication and how teachers and students interact strongly influences student learning and understanding (Bickmore, Brand & Gawned, 1990; Roschelle, Penuel, & Abrahamson, 2004). Cognitive and effective engagement of students in their own learning is essential to sustainable academic growth (Frye et al., 2013). Additionally, the provision of meaningful and engaging pedagogy and curriculum and personalized learning environments contributes significantly to student success (Klem & Connell, 2004). Underpinning successful engagement strategies and practices is the development of positive, productive relationships between teachers and students (Roorda et al., 2011).
To improve mastery of rigorous academic standards in mathematics and literacy for students with diverse learning needs through meaningful student engagement, student-centered classroom environments, and strong student-teacher relationships.
- Student Engagement Resource List - Edutopia
- 20 Strategies for Increasing Student Engagement (PDF) - William N. Bender, Learning Sciences International
Bender, W. N. (2017). 20 Strategies to Increase Student Engagement.
Bickmore-Brand, J., & Gawned, S. (1990). Scaffolding for improved mathematical understanding. Language in mathematics, 43-58.
Frye, D., Baroody, A. J., Burchinal, M., Carver, S. M., Jordan, N. C., & McDowell, J. (2013). Teaching math to young children: A practice guide (NCEE 2014-4005). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
Klem, A. M., & Connell, J. P. (2004). Relationships matter: Linking teacher support to student engagement and achievement. Journal of school health, 74(7), 262-273.
Martin, J., & Torres, A. (2016). What is student engagement and why is it important. Retrieved May, 4, 2018.
Roorda, D. L., Koomen, H. M., Spilt, J. L., & Oort, F. J. (2011). The influence of affective teacher–student relationships on students’ school engagement and achievement: A meta-analytic approach. Review of educational research, 81(4), 493-529.
Roschelle, J., Penuel, W. R., & Abrahamson, L. (2004, April). Classroom response and communication systems: Research review and theory. In Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA (pp. 1-8).
"Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life."
W. E. B. Du Bois
What is it?
A Positive Classroom Climate is essential to student learning. Creating a feeling of safety, belonging, and structure have a positive impact on student outcomes (Korpershoek et al., 2020). Student well-being and teacher well-being are both part of creating a positive classroom climate (Carroll et al., 2021). Teachers can engage in self-care, form connections with colleagues, and develop a positive mindset to enhance their classroom climate (Pearlman & Saakvinte, 1995). In addition to teacher personal practices, creating a Positive Classroom Climate involves attending to the behavioral, emotional, and life skills of all students. A Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) system addresses these skills and supports the development and sustainability of a positive classroom environment. A PBIS is based on the science of Positive Behavior Supports, which is “an approach to behavior support that includes an ongoing process of research-based assessment, intervention and data-based decision making focused on building social and other functional competencies, creating supportive contexts, and preventing the occurrence of problem behaviors” (Kincaid et al., 2016). A school-based or classroom-based PBIS is an evidence-based framework “to improve and integrate all of the data, systems, and practices affecting student outcomes every day” (Center on PBIS, 2020). The Florida Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports Project indicates five research-based elements essential to an effective classroom PBIS system:
- Maximize Structure
- Expectations and Rules
- Student Engagement
- Acknowledge Appropriate Behaviors
- Responding to Inappropriate Behavior
Why is it important?
Given the need for positive classroom and school cultures, it is imperative our students are given the tools to support their behavioral, emotional, and life skills development (Hannigan et al., 2019). Within a PBIS, effective behavioral, emotional, and life skills instruction uses evidence-based resources and facilitate activities that deliberately and explicitly teach prosocial behavior, coping strategies, emotional regulation, and problem-solving skills (Blackburn & Witzel, 2018). Implementing programs that address behavioral, emotional, and life skills with fidelity can result in improved social competence, behavior, and academic achievement for students (Mitchell & Sutherland, 2020).
To improve awareness of the nature of stress and the impact on the mind and body for both teachers in training and students with diverse learning needs, and to provide evidenced based knowledge about wellness beliefs and behaviors that nurture wellbeing and resources for burnout prevention and coping.
- Center on PBIS
The Florida Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports Project
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - Social and Emotional Learning Strategies for Responding to COVID-19
Belfield, C., Bowden, B., Klapp, A., Levin, H., Shand, R., & Zander, S. (2015). The economic value of social and emotional learning. Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education.
Blackburn, & Witzel, B. S. (2018). Behavior and Social and Emotional Learning Through RTI/MTSS. In Rigor in the RTI and MTSS Classroom (1st ed., pp. 135–149). Routledge. DOI
Carroll, A., York, A., Fynes-Clinton, S., Sanders-O'Connor, E., Flynn, L., Bower, J.M., Forrest, K., & Ziaei, M. (2021). The downstream effects of teacher well-being programs: Improvements in teachers’ stress, cognition and well-being benefit their students. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 689628–689628. DOI
Center on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. (2020). Creating a PBIS behavior matrix for remote instruction. University of Oregon. pbis.org
Hannigan, Grima-Farrell, C., & Wardman, N. (2019). Drawing on creative arts therapy approaches to enhance inclusive school cultures and student wellbeing. ISSUES IN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 29(3), 756–773. DOI
Kincaid, D., Dunlap, G., Kern, L., Lane, K. L., Bambara, L. M., Brown, F., ... & Knoster, T. P. (2016). Positive behavior support: A proposal for updating and refining the definition. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 18(2), 69-73.
Korpershoek, Canrinus, E. T., Fokkens-Bruinsma, M., & de Boer, H. (2020). The relationships between school belonging and students’ motivational, social-emotional, behavioural, and academic outcomes in secondary education: a meta-analytic review. Research Papers in Education, 35(6), 641–680. DOI
Mitchell, D. & Sutherland, D. (2020). What really works in special and inclusive education : using evidence-based teaching strategies (Third edition). Routledge.
Pearlman, L. A., & Saakvitne, K. W. (1995). Trauma and the therapist: Countertransference and vicarious traumatization in psychotherapy with incest survivors. WW Norton & Co.
Graduate Research Associate
Graduate Research Associate
Graduate Research Associate
Our Professors in Residence
Teacher Candidates as Assets
This clip discusses examples of teacher candidates supporting their supervising teachers in building a positive classroom culture through meaningful relationships.
This clip shares how our teacher candidates design lessons and create intentional supports based on data to meet individual student needs.
Meeting Student Needs
This clip shares how our teacher candidates embrace emerging technologies to support student learning for all students.
This clip shows how teacher candidates, supervising teachers, and clinical coordinators partner to use research-based practices and meet the emotional, behavioral, and life skill needs of all learners.
The contents of this website were developed under TQP, a Department of Education grant within the Effective Educator Development Programs in the US Department of Education, #U336S180044. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.