Great teachers make an impact on students that stays with them long after they leave the classroom. SCORE and Middle Tennessee State University have just embarked on a ground-breaking partnership that we expect will bring dramatic, innovative changes to how teachers are prepared for their careers and how students are prepared for life.

Together we are pursuing a bold goal: for MTSU to become one of the leading teacher preparation providers in the nation. As a resolutely student-focused organization, SCORE is excited by the potential of this partnership to ensure Tennessee students are succeeding from kindergarten through high school and postsecondary education and into their chosen careers.

SCORE enters its 10th year by expanding our work from a K-12 organization to one now also encompassing postsecondary education and the workforce. SCORE seeks to drive the change that will transform education – and students’ futures – across Tennessee.

As we tackle this expanded work, SCORE is seeking thought partnership from leaders in higher education as well as national expertise in education reform. MTSU and SCORE have signed an agreement to develop an innovative strategy for the MTSU College of Education to continue to improve and evolve the program to ensure graduates from the college receive excellent teacher preparation. SCORE and MTSU selected Education First, a consulting group focused on achieving more equitable and effective public education for all, to support the strategic planning process.

When it comes to catalyzing significant change, what matters most is leadership and innovation. MTSU President Dr. Sidney McPhee and College of Education Dean Dr. Lana Seivers are providing strong leadership for the success of this project. As Dr. McPhee said when we announced the partnership on August 28, “The commitment to this project extends from the university’s top leadership to faculty and staff in the College of Education and reaffirms our commitment to a key mission grounded in this university’s founding.”

For several years, SCORE has been exploring how improved teacher preparation can be a lever for improved student achievement. We offered a set of recommendations in our report, Prepared For Day One: Improving the Effectiveness of Early-Career Teaching. This project will go far beyond that research to build a national model for best-in-class teacher preparation.

We look forward to working with MTSU and Education First on new approaches to address teacher preparation challenges, such as improving the teaching pipeline to increase diversity and fill high-need content areas. We expect this partnership to surface ideas not considered before, and we will share our findings broadly.

We know from research that the most important way to serve students well is to ensure they have great educators throughout their academic life. We’re honored to partner with MTSU to advance that goal.

David Mansouri is president and CEO of SCORE.