Reach began in 2006 with a grant from the Dean Witter Family Foundation to convene a design team with a simple, but profound, charge: reinvent teacher education. A group of 15 educators from San Jose, the East Bay, and Napa County, including founding Executive Director Page Tompkins, dedicated hundreds of hours to design Reach and gain accreditation from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. In 2007 Reach launched its first teacher credential programs with 25 teachers. The programs were combined with a program for training teacher mentors and an already well-established leadership coaching program to become the Reach Institute for School Leadership.
In 2009, Reach added a credential track for experienced teachers wishing to move into school administration: the Instructional Leadership Academy, providing a rigorous set of programs for educators to earn Preliminary and Clear Administrative Services Credentials. In 2011, Reach deepened its academic offerings by launching master’s degrees alongside credentials in both teaching and instructional leadership. In 2020, Reach incubated Oxford Teachers Academy, an innovative undergraduate program for full-time school staff and paraprofessionals seeking to become teachers, and in 2021, Reach became Reach University. The Reach Institute for School Leadership now operates as the university’s graduate institute.
On The Move School Leadership Coaching
The origins of Reach are rooted in the school reform practices and leadership coaching of On The Move (OTM), which began in 2004. OTM staff members have coached veteran and emerging school leaders at more than 35 schools across the Bay Area.
OTM school reform leaders saw in their schools a continuum of leadership, beginning with new classroom leaders and extending all the way to the school and district level leadership. As OTM leaders worked with their partner schools, they realized that there was a big need for better, more job-embedded, and more authentic forms of new teacher and leader development.
In California, Reach offers teacher and school leader training programs in affiliation with Alternatives in Action, which the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has approved as a LEA education preparation provider. AIA/Reach offers Commission-accredited Intern Teacher, Master of Arts in Teaching, Teacher Induction (TIP), and Instructional Leadership Academy programs. As of 2021, the Reach Institute (Reach University) also offers teacher training programs separately approved by education agencies in Arkansas and Louisiana.