Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences and Oklahoma State University-Tulsa have joined forces to provide timely professional development for school superintendents and administrators statewide with the aim of improving educational outcomes for students in rural and underserved communities.
As the first of its kind in the state, TeleED Project ECHO has the potential to revolutionize professional development for educators in Oklahoma by providing a collaborative learning environment through the use of technology at no charge.
Today, the OSU-CHS Project ECHO team launched the first live TeleED virtual learning session between Oklahoma school superintendents and OSU College of Education, Health and Aviation faculty from the program’s OSU-Tulsa studio.
“One of our challenges continues to be the scarcity of funding to support professional development opportunities for school leaders, particularly in rural areas of the state,” said Ed Harris, Ph.D., OSU professor and Williams Chair of Education Leadership in School Administration. “TeleED ECHO will bring school administrators together with faculty experts during regular live video conferencing sessions to address specific problems and learn current best practices.”
According to the latest U.S. Department of Education data, Oklahoma has the 15th worst high school graduation rate in the nation. The state also ranks among the lowest for student proficiency and school funding.
The program is designed to turn the tide by providing educators regular access to OSU education faculty. Educators will:
- Learn latest best practices
- Apply case-based learning
- Evaluate and monitor student outcomes
- Gain free continuing education credits
“We are adapting the Project ECHO model for health care to the education specialty with the purpose of reducing education disparities in rural and isolated parts of Oklahoma,” said Katherine Curry, Ed.D., OSU associate professor and John A. and Donnie Brock Professor in Educational Leadership and Policy. “Other states, including New Mexico and Wyoming, are finding success in improving educational outcomes through the Project ECHO model. I believe we will too.”
The idea was to use the telehealth model called Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) that OSU-CHS launched in 2016 to help provide rural physicians access to medical experts in specific fields to provide better patient care and improve rural health.
OSU-CHS was the first in Oklahoma to adopt the ECHO concept, which was established in 2003 by the University of New Mexico. Project ECHO now operates more than 90 hubs worldwide.
OSU-CHS now offers nine services lines through Project ECHO to improve the healthcare outcomes for Oklahomans in mental health disorders, opioid addiction and viral disorders, to name a few.
Project ECHO TeleED administrators plan to set regular biweekly teleconference sessions. Sessions will start out between OSU faculty and Oklahoma school superintendents to identify problems and collaborate on solutions. Eventually, teachers throughout the state will get regular training from OSU faculty.