The ACT Preparation Program was developed through the DELTA (Design for Excellence: Linking Teaching and Achievement) Collaborative, an initiative of the Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitan Project (LAAMP) and supported by a 5-year grant from the Weingart Foundation. ACT was designed over a two-year period to restructure teacher education as a shared school-university responsibility, and to reflect best practices in preparing teachers for urban schools. Since 1998, 1,658 candidates participated in ACT. See number of participants by year and by program (elementary, secondary, and special education).
The ACT Program is designed around a core of principles derived from focus group meetings with university and school faculty, reviews of the literature, and discussion among members of the Collaborative. The principles continue to inform the design and implementation of the ACT Program:
- A supportive learning environment – A cohort based program with initial and ongoing advisement and mentoring provided by ACT Coordinators and faculty throughout the year.
- Preparation to teach diverse urban learners – ACT promotes sensitivity to diversity and the dispositions, knowledge and skills necessary to teach in multicultural and multilingual settings.
- A standards-based program – ACT is organized around the six interrelated domains of the California Standards for the Teaching Profession and state content standards.
- A developmental approach – The scope and sequence of the content and experiences build developmentally, one upon the other.
- Extensive and intensive field experiences – Teacher candidates complete a full year of fieldwork in the classrooms of exemplary teachers trained as coaches.
- Professional, collaborative learning and teaching community – Through ACT, teachers, administrators, and parents in LAUSD, and teacher candidates and university faculty are collectively immersed in sharing knowledge, inquiry, and problem solving.
- Decisions driven by evidence – Evaluation data is collected yearly on the development of teacher competencies and program satisfaction, with findings used to inform program practices.