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About TREC

TREC is a group of educators committed to supporting teacher professional development in the Tucson Region. We want to build professional development capacity, increase teacher retention, and develop teacher leaders.

Our mission: TREC brings together the region’s educators, resources, and partners to support their evolving professional growth.

Our vision: A collaborative community that cultivates a thriving teaching profession.

Our 2020-2021 Goals

Launch and Refine website

Launch and refine a website with resources relevant to local educators’ needs, including PD Events, access to on-demand resources, teacher networking opportunities, and much more.

One-day Retreats

Hosting a virtual fall retreat and two one-day retreats (January and May), to bring together a group of approximately 60 stakeholders to support teacher, district, and community members’ input and forward movement of TREC.

TREC Teacher Leaders

Cohort 1: Our Pilot group, or Cohort 1, consists of 8 TREC Teacher Leaders. These teacher leaders are currently each leading book studies on Onward, focused on Emotional Resiliency of Educators.

Cohort 2: Ten new teachers are TREC’s Cohort 2 of Teacher Leaders. In the first year of this two-year program, they are developing and implementing high-needs professional development opportunities for teachers.

Click here to read more about our teacher leaders.

June Summit

The TREC Teacher Leaders will lead the development of a June Summit.

Last year, June 2020, the focus was on Social Emotional Learning and Emotional Resiliency and was redeveloped into a webinar series due to COVID-19. During our 2019 data collection, both teachers and districts identified SEL as a key professional development need in the region.

Further develop Infrastructure

Developing the infrastructure for TREC, specifically the management and development teams. This is the final year of a two-year building capacity phase. TREC will officially launch Summer 2021.

Financial Plan

Producing a long-range financial plan and ensuring long-term sustainability.

Our Long-Term Goals

Inspire, Support, Connect, and Grow educators and communities

We will both leverage current professional development activities by providing opportunities (including online) to showcase partners’ professional development efforts in the region and create new opportunities to fill needs. This work will ultimately lead to increased teacher retention.

  1. Inspire: Raising the visibility of and providing greater access to high-quality professional development activities offered in the greater Tucson area.
  2. Support: Supporting early childhood through 12th grade educators (classroom teachers, counselors, specialists, etc.) in finding the best matches for their learning needs.
  3. Connect: Supporting connections and community-building for educators across the region.
  4. Grow: Creating new professional development and leadership opportunities wherever these needs are unmet.

Who We Are

We at TREC believe that no single entity can do it all. This is why we have chosen to bring in a number of partners that will invite innovative ideas and collaborations across stakeholders to go beyond individual district’s or school’s professional development efforts.

The University of Arizona College of Education is leading the development of TREC along with 9 regional school districts, several charter schools, and 12 community organizations and governmental agencies. All TREC committees and retreats include teachers as integral participants, as this is an effort to build from the ground up based on the needs of teachers. TREC is a collaborative effort to support the region’s teachers.

Jen Kinser-Traut: Director

Jen Kinser TrautJen Kinser-Traut is the Director of TREC. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of TREC as well as the long-term planning,alongside the 4 working groups and advisory board. Jen’s role prioritizes building collaborations, supporting the long-term goal of TREC to increase teacher retention, and leading the TREC Teacher Leaders. She joined TREC during the planning and design phase in early October, 2018.

Prior to joining TREC, Jen was a Visiting Assistant Professor at NYU, teaching masters’ level education courses and advising masters’ thesis Participatory Action Research Projects. Additionally, she taught 5th – 12th grade math and science for 9 years in Tucson, AZ and 1 year in Guatemala. She earned a BS in Biology from Bowling Green State University (Ohio), as well as a masters and PhD in Teaching and Teacher Education, with an emphasis in Mathematics from the University of Arizona. Jen has two young children and enjoys hiking and biking with her family in the Sonoran Desert .

Our Rationale

The professional development approach we are building is driven by the premise that teachers are professionals and should have more choice in advancing their careers.

This premise is supported by the data from our teacher survey as 78% (1,095) of the teachers surveyed indicated a need for professional development to support them in growing as a professional. Schools and districts provide important professional development for their teachers, they may be limited by resource and time constraints that may prevent them from being able to meet the individual needs of all of their teachers. TREC is also grounded in the premise that there is strength in bringing together a number of partners because we acknowledge that no single entity can do it all. We invite innovative ideas and collaborations across stakeholders to go beyond individual district’s or school’s professional development efforts. This approach provides a broader range of opportunities because we can bring more resources and additional expertise options, increase schools’ and districts’ potential to reach teachers in other districts, offer teachers a range of options to fit their individual goals.

The History of TREC

University of Arizona College of Education Dean Bruce Johnson, former Dean Ron Marx, and Carrie Brennan from the CITY Center for Collaborative Learning began with an idea to support the region’s teachers. They began a planning year, funded by a grant from the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. Jen Kinser-Traut, a former Tucson teacher and math educator, was hired as the director and led the development of TREC. During the 2018-2019 school year, TREC began with a resource and needs assessment to better understand the professional development resources in the region as well as teachers’ needs. In January 2019, TREC collected 1,396 survey responses from teachers (early childhood through 12th grade), as well as 200 survey responses from principals, early childhood directors, district professional development providers, nonprofit professional development providers, and University of Arizona professional development providers. The data from these surveys helped to support and guide a retreat where over 50 of the region’s education stakeholders began designing TREC.