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Teacher Academies Under ESSA

States can provide grants to teacher “academies” that prepare educators to serve our highest needs students.
Published: June 24, 2020

The Every Student Succeeds Act seeks to ensure that every student has access to a teacher with the knowledge and skills to positively impact learning, and school leaders with the knowledge and skills to help teachers be successful. 

One strategy is to enhance teacher, principal, and leader preparation by extensive use of clinical practice throughout the teacher’s/leader’s preparation program. States can provide grants to “Academies” that seek to fill this role as preparer of educators to serve our highest needs students.

Opportunities provided by teacher academies include: 

  • A greater impact on our profession through collaboration in design and implementation of academies. 
  • New opportunities for members to assume teacher-leader roles.
  • New avenues for collaboration between p-12 and higher education members.
  • Positive impact on learning opportunities for our students.

Key Provisions

Preparation Academies: Grants are available to create teacher/administrator/leader preparation academies in order to fill positions in schools working with high needs populations. May include public or non-profit entities (including higher education, other entities, AND partnerships with NEA.

Clinical Preparation: A significant part of training (prior to becoming teacher of record) is infused with clinical preparation while the candidate is paired with a practitioner with demonstrated ability to positively impact student achievement.

Concurrent instruction: There should be concurrent instruction on content area(s) for subjects the candidate will teach.

Goals: The Academy must have goals for numbers of “successful” completers. “Success” is demonstrated during student teaching or after employment through positive impact on student achievement.

Certificates or degrees: Programs may lead to certificates of completion or degrees (including master’s) in education and would result in licensure by the appropriate state agency.


  • Without safeguards such as accreditation, the association must advocate for appropriately qualified faculty, equity of opportunity, attention to cultural competence, ability to utilize technology, etc.
  • Successful impact on student learning must be meaningful, multiple measures rather than statistical Value Added Metrics.
  • Thoughtful design needed to determine how “promising” candidates are identified for academies.
  • Design must ensure that both content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge and skill are addressed.
  • Association vigilance is needed to discourage approval of academy proposals that do not embody our values, or that fail to adequately address the challenges identified.

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