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IBM Launches National Initiative To Overhaul U.S. Teacher Training

Twenty-seven Leading Schools of Education in Nine States Join National Collaborative Effort to Improve Teacher Quality

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ARMONK, N.Y - 22 Aug 2002: IBM today announced a $15 million grant program designed to drive higher-quality training for U.S. public school teachers -- elevating their preparation to the rigorous standards in other professional fields. The announcement brings IBM's investment in its global Reinventing Education initiative -- currently serving 65,000 teachers and six million students -- to $70 million.

The new grants pave the way for teachers at 27 leading schools of education in nine states to receive new levels of quality training and professional development that help states meet the requirements of the president's No Child Left Behind Act.

"For nearly a decade, IBM has dedicated both its expertise and technical resources to help crack some of the toughest problems facing our public schools. This latest grant opens a new dimension in that ongoing effort," said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM president and chief executive officer. "It's obvious that the schools have little chance of achieving at world-class levels if we can't equip and sustain a world-class teaching force. This initiative will help our students by helping their teachers -- with better training, professional development and technology deployment for the people we're asking to lead in every classroom."

The Reinventing Education teacher training initiative creates a first-of-a-kind national collaborative among the participating teacher education schools with the common goal of driving up the academic quality of teacher preparation courses. The grants will bring innovative technologies into schools of education, and build new, permanent bridges between teacher education programs and the schools they serve.

"States are working hard to make the changes needed to respond to the most sweeping reform in education policy in a generation," said U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige. "The private sector can play a role in helping states not only comply with the federal law, but more importantly, fulfill President Bush's promise that all children will achieve at the highest levels. Companies like IBM that devote resources to this effort are to be commended."

Each of the nine Reinventing Education grant teams -- the urban school district and/or state education department, plus one or more colleges of education -- will receive approximately $1.5 million in resources from IBM in the form of research and technical expertise, technology, and cash. During phase one, each grant partner will, with IBM's help, build and deploy a common Web-based platform to support new instructional practices and strategies.

"In spite of years of education improvement and new higher standards, our colleges of education are often teaching the same methods they were 20 years ago," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM's vice president of corporate community relations. "IBM is offering education schools, districts and states our best talent and technology to create a comprehensive, high-quality teacher training system that fully prepares our teachers for the 21st century classroom."

Together, grantees in each state -- including teachers in training, college faculty, classroom teachers and school administrators -- will create new methods of continuous teacher training using a portfolio of training and development tools. The schools will tailor their training to parallel the actual experience of teaching in a classroom. New teachers will be familiar with actual needs of the students in a specific school, be less likely to leave the classroom after only a few years, and be better engaged to help students learn.

Building a Framework for New Levels of Collaboration
Grantees will be provided with a Web-based instructional platform called Riverdeep Learning Village. Developed by IBM researchers and teachers, the Learning Village software offers a rich portfolio of teaching tools educators can use to assist teachers and those preparing to teach. Working in close collaboration with faculty, IBM researchers will continue to innovate and develop new and effective tools to support teachers. This combination of technological tools and educational content will redefine how teachers master their profession, enhance their instruction and help their students meet higher standards.

Through Learning Village, teachers can build and share standards-based lesson plans, implement proven instructional practices and strategies, and seek answers to questions from peers and teacher educators in other institutions. Teacher preparation will move beyond theory to the classroom.

Grantees will fully integrate this technology into their existing systems of teacher training and professional development. For example:

Schools of education will integrate Riverdeep Learning Village into their course work for both pre-service teachers and in-service training to enable them to learn best practices in lesson planning, work with mentors and faculty for ongoing guidance and support, and access effective curriculum and practices.

School districts and state departments of education will adapt these tools into expanded professional development and induction programs for new teachers, including supporting teachers through the extensive National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification process that recognizes highly accomplished teachers.

Literally hundreds of courses will be revised and thousands of teachers will benefit.

Expanding the Reach of Reinventing Education
Since 1994, Reinventing Education has been the centerpiece of IBM's global commitment to educational improvement, supporting school reform efforts and higher student achievement through the development of innovative technology solutions. Today, IBM partners, with school systems throughout the world to develop cutting-edge applications that help solve some of education's toughest problems. Rather than simply crating a model school or enriching classrooms with technology, Reinventing Education uses technology to jump start comprehensive and lasting school reforms that result in higher student achievement.

An independent evaluation conducted by the Education Development Center, Inc. in 2001, found Reinventing Education to have "a significant and positive effect on student achievement" and documented "substantial gains in performance for students in grades 7 - 11 as a result of Reinventing Education solutions breaking down significant barriers to high academic achievement."

For more information on IBM's Reinventing Education program, visit http://www.ibm.com/ibm/ibmgives or contact Kendra Collins, director, corporate media relations at 914-499-4608.

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