About OTP

Culturally and linguistically-diverse students make up a third of the student population in Oregon public schools. However, the majority of Oregon public school teachers are predominantly white females. Based on research, which shows that students of color achieve higher academic success when exposed to culturally and linguistically diverse teacher and teachers trained in culturally responsive practices display higher levels of academic achievement, the Oregon Teacher Pathway (OTP) is a grow your own teacher program that is designed to 1) recruit, educate, and graduate culturally and linguistically diverse students who are interested in becoming teachers; and 2) recruit, educate, and graduate students interested in learning how to become culturally responsive teachers.

The goal of the program is to respond to the needs of our schools by training culturally responsive teachers who are capable of working with students and families for various diverse backgrounds. To reach these goals, the program focuses on recruiting, educating, and retaining preservice teachers of color and pre-service teachers interested in becoming culturally responsive teachers. OTP is centered on student success by partnering with local schools and community organizations, developing mentors at the high school and college level, and recruiting, retaining, supporting, and graduating quality teacher candidates. The program hallmarks include: principles based on culturally responsive pedagogy and practices, the continual cycle of mentorship, and the grow your own partnerships that are established with regional school districts.

The program begins with training high schools students in their junior and senior year by offering these students a chance to take dual-credit courses in introduction to education and culturally responsive practices. In this experience students also are involved in a 1-hour per week field experience tutoring with elementary school students. The year-long course is worth 4 college credits per year. Student also have the opportunity to 1) work with college professor and mentors, 2) interact with leading scholars in the field of culturally responsive practice, 3) conduct research on topics related to culturally responsive practice, and 4) get an opportunity to visit EOU campus and attend a college course. Students who participate in the OTP program will qualify for a tuition discount. In return these students agree to become mentors for high school students in their home communities and fellow college students pursuing teacher education.

 OTP Principles:

1. Identity and Achievement:

 Culturally responsive teachers transform education from traditional to responsive. Accordingly, educational transformation occurs through respecting and adopting multiple cultures and experiences, recognizing strengths and accomplishments, and making academic success mandatory and an accessible goal for all students. Developing critical social consciousness and confronting traditional education liberates students from “having” to learn and transforms them into “wanting” to learn and succeed.

2. Equity and Excellence

Culturally responsive teachers respond to student needs, support and facilitate learning opportunities, provide individual attention and encouragement,   engage in cooperative learning, are fluid and equitable, foster and celebrate success, enable and empower learning, and cultivate cultural sustainability and life-long learning.

3. Developmental Appropriateness

Culturally responsive teachers engage in multiple teaching and learning styles;   integrate multifaceted communication styles; include a multitude of subjects and pathways to access content; facilitate preferred learning settings; organize varied learning spaces that reflect student preferences; integrate multiple sensory modalities; foster interpersonal relationships; and ensure that students are rewarded and recognized for their work.Culturally responsive teachers are mindful of the language and communication styles of their students. They consider the forms and functions, context, and knowledge that the students and themselves are trying to prevail and manage their discourse styles to reflect the needs of everyone

4. Teaching the Whole Child

Culturally responsive teachers extend learning beyond the confines of a mandated textbook and integrate and explore sources that more accurately reflect the students in their classrooms. They are teachers who scaffold and connect meaningful learning between the student’s home and school and integrate sociocultural relationships. Teachers in culturally responsive classrooms validate student cultures and approach teaching and learning through a cultural lens. Culturally responsive teachers are active members of the community, participating in community functions, service and education. In this sense, learning in culturally responsive classrooms is not confined to a state standards and curriculum, but includes the development of active and engaged citizenship.

5. Student Teacher Relationships

Culturally responsive teachers are not only concerned with the well-being of the child in the school, but one that helps students to work and achieve success in the outside world as well. Students who are empowered to learn are excited about learning, encourage one another, can solve real life problems, and acquire expressive academic and social skills.  In essence, a caring teacher is a responsive teacher who attends to the whole learner and responds to their needs both culturally and academically through clear communication of knowledge.