The Renaissance Group



Co-teaching Signature Project

Dear Colleagues,

As we bring to closure another academic year, we believe this is the prefect time to express true appreciation to each of you for the many opportunities you have provided to positively impact the lives of all students in America’s schools.

Our member institutions (colleges, universities and the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards) are undoubtedly the best equipped to address student success by the way we prepare our future teachers, counselors and administrators.   We are the teacher colleges of the past and of the present; we prepare the largest number and the best education professionals of our nation.

The following message was prepared by Dr. Nancy Bacharach and Dr. Teresa Heck from Saint Cloud State University, as the introduction to a very special initiative we agreed to expand and offer to all TRG members during 2010-11 and beyond:

“While all teacher preparation programs are unique, according to Guyton and McIntyre (1990), student teaching hasn’t changed significantly since the 1920’s. Many teacher preparation institutions are finding it increasingly difficult to secure quality student teaching placements for their teacher candidates. Resistance comes from cooperating teachers who are unwilling to exit their classrooms for extended periods of time while the teacher candidate gains experience.  For the past seven years a team of educators from St. Cloud State University (SCSU) have worked collaboratively on a project funded by a US Department of Education Teacher Quality Enhancement Partnership grant. The project created, implemented, and evaluated a co-teaching model of student teaching.

What is Co-teaching?

The Co-teaching model of student teaching includes training in co-teaching, co-planning, relationship building, communication and collaboration.   Participants learn seven Co-teaching strategies to differentiate instruction and better meet student needs. This model requires the cooperating teacher to mentor their teacher candidate throughout the critical student teaching experience and requires teacher candidates to take a leadership role in the classroom. Cooperating teachers provide mentoring and support as teacher candidates develop and practice all aspects of teaching.  Classroom teachers partner with candidates rather than give away responsibility.  As the experience progresses, pairs collaboratively plan for instruction and evaluation.  Ultimately, teacher candidates become fully responsible for the classroom, but cooperating teachers remain actively engaged:  teacher candidates assume leadership in all aspects of teaching, which include directing the activities of the cooperating teacher and other adults in the classroom.  In a Co-teaching experience, the focus shifts from teacher candidates gaining experience through solo teaching to teacher candidates gaining experiences as lead teachers.

Four years of academic achievement data indicates that students in co-taught classrooms (cooperating teacher and teacher candidate) statistically outperform students in classrooms with a single teacher and classrooms where a non co-teaching model of student teaching was utilized. Qualitative data from hundreds of participating cooperating teachers, teacher candidates and P-12 students provides overwhelming support for a co-teaching model of student teaching. This model benefits teacher candidates, cooperating teachers and the P12 students they serve.

This Co-teaching in student teaching program has helped SCSU secure high quality placements, increase the academic achievement of the students in the classroom, and enhance partnerships with local school districts. As programs focus on expanding their residency programs, a Co-teaching model of student teaching holds great promise.”

The “great promise” referenced above is one of the primary reasons The Renaissance Group recently approved making St. Cloud State’s Co-teaching model one of the consortium’s Signature Projects for 2010-11 and beyond.  We have examined the results shared by Dr. Heck and Dr. Bacharach on more than one occasion, including during presentations at Fresno State and at the Fall 2010 TRG Conference, and firmly believe the Co-teaching model holds great promise for improving teaching and learning.

Where are We with the Expansion of Co-teaching?

Our first step was to determine the level of knowledge and interest each of you had about Co-teaching by completing and returning a brief survey and participating in a video-teleconference information session.  Once those steps were completed, we could determine how best to proceed with needed training to support the various levels of implementation of Co-teaching at your institutions. 

Our ultimate goal was to apply for grant or other funding sources to support the training, implementation and continued research of the Co-teaching model to as many institutions as possible.  This structure was very successful with our Teacher Work Samples Project, directed by Dr. Roger Pankratz from Western Kentucky University.

We know some of you have already completed various levels of training, or have committed to receiving training from Dr. Heck and Dr. Bacharach.  Our purpose with this project is to continue supporting your needs via the development of a cohort structure supported by The Renaissance Group, utilizing Dr. Heck and Dr. Bacharach as project leaders and academic coaches for the project. 

Please note the above steps have been successfully completed, and we are now examining various funding options.

We have an impressive list of institutions committed to Co-teaching and we are aggressively pursuing funding sources to support our project.  All participants will be provided periodic updates via E-mail and through this website.

You may contact Dr. Michael Giovannetti for additional details at California State University, Fresno, The Renaissance Group Executive Office:  (559) 278-0373, or Cell (559) 346-9381; or via E-mail

Thank you!


Michael Giovannetti, TRG Executive Director

Barbara Burch, Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs Emeritus, Director of Doctoral Studies, Western Kentucky University

Co-Teaching Fact Sheet (pdf)

Commitment to Co-Teaching as TRG Signature Project/May 10, 2011

TRG Members:  Dr. Michael Giovannetti, Executive Director

  1. Saint Cloud State University (MN)– Dr. Glen Palm, Dean/College of Education
  2. Black Hills State University (Spearfish, SD)– Dr. Nancy Hall, Dean/College of Education
  3. Minnesota State University, Mankato (MN)– Dr. Carol Werhan/College of Education
  4. Western New Mexico University (Silver City, NM) – Dr. Patricia Manzanares-Gonzales, Dean/School of Education
  5. Emporia State University (Emporia, Kansas) – Dr. Phillip Bennett, Dean /The Teachers College
  6. Kean University (Union, NJ) – Dr. Susan Polirstok, Dean/college of Education
  7. California State University, Fresno (CA) – Dr. Paul Beare, Dean/Kremen School of Education and Human Development
  8. Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, GA) – Dr. Arlinda Eaton, Dean/Bagwell College of Education
  9. Northwest Missouri State University (Maryville, MO) – Dr. Joyce Piveral/College of Education and Human Services
  10. University of Central Missouri (Warrensburg, MO) – Dr. Michael Wright, Dean/College of Education
  11. Sonoma State University (CA) Dr. Carlos Ayala, Dean /School of Education
  12. Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, KY) – Dr. Sam Evans, Dean/College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  13. Southeast Missouri State University (Cape Girardeau, MO) – Dr. Margaret Noe, Dean/College of Education
  14. University of North Carolina, Wilmington (Wilmington, NC) – Dr. Karen Wetherill/Dean Watson School of Education

Non-TRG Members (All CSU System Schools)

  1. CSU Stanislaus (CA) – Dr. Juan Flores, Dean/College of Education
  2. CSU Fullerton (CA) – Dr. Kristin Stang/College of Education
  3. CSU Channel Islands (CA) – Dr. Gary Kinsey, Dean/College of Education
  4. CSU Sacramento (CA) – Dr. Kathy Norman, Associate Dean/College of Education
  5. CSU Lon Beach (CA) – Dr. Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, Dean/College of Education
  6. CSU Los Angeles (CA) – Dr. Leila Ricci, Dean/College of Education
  7. CSU San Bernardino (CA) – Dr. Sue Spitzer/College of Education
  8. CSU San Marcos (CA) – Dr. Patricia Prado-Olmos, Dean/College of Education
  9. CSU San Diego (CA) – Dr. Ric Hovda, Dean/College of Education