Annual Report 1999 Table of Contents | Brochures and Reports
Contents of section:
|Aims, Scope, and Planning
The National Demonstration Project, supported by a four-year grant of $2.5 million from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, aims to demonstrate the feasibility of adaptations of the Institute approach at several other sites. It directs its attention to sites where school systems serve a significant number of students from low-income communities, but where the pattern and magnitude of needs and resources are different from those that obtain in New Haven, and where significant opportunities exist, without varying from our approach, for devising local strategies in meeting those needs. From March 1998 through January 1999, in accordance with its proposal to the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, the Teachers Institute had:
• Invited fourteen sites to submit proposals for 8-month Planning Grants
• Awarded 3-year Implementation Grants, on recommendation of a National Panel and on the advice of the program officer of the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, and after further negotiations with certain sites, to four applicants: Chatham College, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Pittsburgh Public Schools; the University of Houston and the Houston Independent School District; the University of New Mexico and the Albuquerque Public Schools; and the University of California at Irvine and the Santa Ana Unified School DistrictThe award to four applicants, instead of the three originally envisioned in the proposal to the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, was made possible in part by a supplementary grant of $150,000 by the McCune Charitable Foundation. The National Panel concluded that all four sites had distinct advantages as demonstration sites, though some concerns about budget and organizational structure remained to be resolved. An array of four sites would give the National Demonstration Project a greater diversity of institutional type, urban scope, and organizational strategy. It would establish a larger base for collaboration among the demonstration sites. In case of some insurmountable difficulty at any one site, it would provide a firmer guarantee of three demonstration sites reaching a successful conclusion. And if all four sites were successful, it would provide an excellent coast-to-coast nucleus for further expansion of the group of Teachers Institutes thereby established.
The four sites represent quite different urban challenges. All have school systems considerably larger than that of New Haven, and all must deal with serious problems associated with low-income communities and a high proportion of racial and ethnic diversity. But they also illustrate different institutional configurations and different strategies in approaching those problems.
|The Roles of the Yale-New Haven Teachers
For the duration of the Grant from the Fund, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute will have a dual relationship to the four other Teachers Institutes. It is both monitor of the Re-Grants to the four sites and a senior colleague of those Institutes. It is responsible for offering technical assistance to the other Teachers Institutes, for convening in 1999 the January Orientation Session and the July Intensive Session, and for convening in 1999, 2000, and 2001 the Annual Conferences in October. It also maintains the National Steering Committee and the National University Advisory Council, sponsors the national periodical On Common Ground, and helps in other ways to further the aims of the entire league of Teachers Institutes and to disseminate their accomplishments. It is responsible for conducting site visits each year to offer assistance and to gain information about the progress of each new Institute. At the same time, it encourages each of the other Teachers Institutes to develop both a necessary independence and a collaborative spirit. Its aim is to assist in transforming the group of five Teachers Institutes into a fully collaborative league that might in the future extend its membership to include Institutes at yet other sites.
This multiplicity of roles has required a continuing reassessment of this Institute’s appropriate emphases. During the planning phase of the Grant, we had been mainly providing information and experience that might enable the demonstration sites to apprehend and internalize the basic principles of this Institute. By the time of the January Orientation in 1999, it seemed that the four demonstration sites had clearly begun to internalize those principles and to discover their own collaborative relationships. During the July Intensive Session, the plenary meetings were held about a pentagonal table in order to signal the fundamental equality of the five collaborating sites. We planned the First Annual Conference as an occasion for the demonstration sites to step forward with their own best accomplishments and experiences, while we stepped back somewhat to the position of observers. There have now been calls for more equal participation of all five sites in the Second Annual Conference, and we are continuing to work in that direction.
The Institute is both monitor of the Re-Grants to the four sites and a senior colleague of those Institutes.
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July Intensive Plenary Session. (Clockwise from left: Peter N. Herndon, Director James R. Vivian, Thomas R. Whitaker, and Jean E. Sutherland, New Haven; Jennifer D. Murphy, Aaron B. Ch«vez, Wanda Martin, and Douglas Earick, Albuquerque; John Groch, Helen S. Faison, Verna Arnold, and Margaret M. McMackin, Pittsburgh; Timeri K. Tolnay, Barbara Kuhn Al-Bayati, and Mel E. Sanchez, Irvine; Daniel Addis, Joy Teague, William J. Pisciella, Paul Cooke, and Ninfa A. Sepólveda, Houston.)
During 1999 the Implementation Team of Yale faculty members and New Haven Teachers assisted with planning, carrying out, and assessing the site visits to the four new Institutes. As was the case with regard to the site visits in the Planning Phase of the Grant, a Protocol was established to guide the members of the Implementation Team, and this Protocol was discussed at a meeting of the team. (For members of the Implementation Team, see Appendix.) Supplementary Protocols were also designed to highlight the issues specific to each site that had been signaled by the National Panel’s review and embodied in the contract, or had emerged in the course of monitoring by Institute staff and members of the Implementation Team. The visit to Albuquerque was made on September 23-24 by Thomas R. Whitaker, Rogers M. Smith (Yale faculty member), and Mary E. Stewart (New Haven teacher). That to Pittsburgh was made on September 27-28 by Director Vivian, Frederick J. Streets (Yale faculty), and Carolyn N. Kinder (New Haven assistant principal). That to Houston was made on October 7-8 by Vivian, Sabatino Sofia (Yale faculty member), and Peter N. Herndon (New Haven teacher). And the visit to Irvine-Santa Ana was made on October 14-15 by Vivian, Thomas R. Whitaker, and Jean E. Sutherland (a New Haven teacher).
The plenary meetings were held about a pentagonal table.
|The Common Work of the Five Teachers
The January Orientation Session: On January 8-9, 1999, an Orientation Session was held in New Haven for teams from each site, including the director, university faculty, and school teachers. The purpose of the session was to hear directly the plans made by the sites for the Institutes they had begun to create and to begin to provide as much practical assistance as possible in the ongoing development of those plans. As Director Vivian said, “In effect, we also inaugurate today a league of Teachers Institutes stretching from coast to coast, united in a common purpose, and driven by the concern we share for strengthening teaching and learning of the humanities and the sciences in the nation’s urban public schools.” During the Orientation Session the Directors spoke about the scope and strategy their site had adopted and what their Institute intends to demonstrate. A school teacher and a college or university faculty member from each site spoke about the roles that teachers and faculty have played, and will be playing. Caucuses of teachers and faculty members met with some of their New Haven counterparts, while the Directors met with Vivian, Patricia Lydon, and Thomas Whitaker. Meetings were also held to organize the National Steering Committee and the National University Advisory Council.
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The Orientation Session held in January 1999 for the four sites awarded Implementation Grants. (Clockwise around table: Lawrence Curry and Paul Cooke, Houston; Verna Arnold, Helen S. Faison, and John Groch, Pittsburgh; Thomas R. Whitaker, James R. Vivian, Traugott Lawler, and Pedro Mendia, New Haven; Sharon W. Saxton, Santa Ana; Barbara Kuhn Al-Bayati and Thelma W. Foote, Irvine; William Monroe, Houston; and Colston Chandler, Albuquerque. Back row: Stephen P. Broker and Rogers M. Smith, New Haven; Susan C. Leonard, Les McFadden, Aaron B. Ch«vez, and Laura Cameron, Albuquerque; John Kadash and Hannah McCarthy, Pittsburgh; and Joseph A. Montagna, New Haven.)
“We are united in a common purpose and driven by the concern we share for the nation’s urban public schools.”
—James R. Vivian
|Planning was begun at this time for the second July Intensive
Session. It was decided that each site would determine what would be the
appropriate proportion of teachers who had participated in 1998 and teachers
new to the Institute process. Plans were made for participation in the
admissions process, which would take place much further in advance than
for the Intensive Session of July 1998, in order to make possible sufficient
advance reading by the participants. Proposals for National Seminars (determined
after urging the sites to canvas those teachers who seemed most likely
to take part in this year’s Intensive Session) were therefore presented
initially in this January Orientation Session, and seminar materials were
to be sent out at least two months in advance. Teachers at each site were
to make their choices of applicants by April 15. Members of the New Haven
Steering Committee would be joined by Steering Committee members from the
other sites in making the final allocations to the seminars. At least one
and no more than two teachers from each site would join each of the four
seminars. Proposals for National Seminars presented at this time were:
Mary E. Miller, “Art and Identity in Mexico, from the Olmec to Modern Times”;
Rogers M. Smith, “Immigration and American Life”; John P. Wargo, “Human-Environment
Relations”; and Thomas R. Whitaker, “Writing from Several Cultures.”
There was also a plenary session for discussion of technical assistance to be provided by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. It focused on the application and admissions process and the seminar and curriculum unit writing process of the Institute. These topics continued to require explanation in the course of this year, in large part because the National Demonstration Project is very different from the professional development or outreach programs to which faculty and teachers have become accustomed.
In another session the entire group discussed the documentation and evaluation of our work together over the next three years and the nature of the Fund-commissioned evaluation to be proceeding concurrently. After a review of the expectations and procedures for the internal evaluation, which includes reporting by each site as specified in the Request for Proposals and in their contracts, Ed Pauly and Ian Beckford from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund set forth the purposes of the external evaluation, its intended cooperation with the self-studies and reports from the sites, and its desired national impact. Ian Beckford then elicited from the group informal statements of what they hoped to accomplish in the coming three years at each site. The Directors of each Institute also met individually with Director Vivian, Patricia Lydon, and Thomas Whitaker, to discuss the comments made during and after the review by the National Panel and any continuing problems at each site.
A concluding roundtable discussion elicited very favorable comments on this January Orientation and appreciation of the fact that there was now evident an actual face-to-face community of Institutes, working toward the improvement of education in this nation.
The National Demonstration Project is very different from the professional develop-ment or outreach programs to which faculty and teachers have become accustomed.
|The Faculty Forum: In May 1999, as a result of discussions
in the National University Advisory Council, the Yale-New Haven Teachers
Institute established a moderated electronic forum for the exchange of
views and information by college and university faculty members involved
in the National Demonstration Project. The Teachers Institute Faculty Forum
(TIFF) may be addressed at firstname.lastname@example.org. The moderator is Professor Jules
D. Prown of Yale University. During the late spring, TIFF handled a number
of messages from faculty members at the new Teachers Institutes who sought
advice about procedures for leading a seminar and supervising curriculum
units. Because very little traffic developed, however, the continuance
of TIFF became a topic for faculty discussion during the July Intensive
Session and the First Annual Conference.
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Seminar Leaders’ Meeting on TIFF. (Clockwise from left: Sandra H. Ferdman-Comas, Thomas R. Whitaker, James R. Vivian, Jules D. Prown, Bryan J. Wolf, Robert G. Wheeler, Robert Wyman, and J. Michael McBride.)
In response to a suggestion made during the Annual Conference, a meeting was held on December 13 of a diverse group of past Institute seminar leaders in New Haven. They discussed what would be, in the light of their practical experience, the most useful issues, framed with questions and some individual solutions, that might be posted electronically in the hope of stimulating further discussion on TIFF. The seminar leaders suggested a dozen or so categories of issues that ran a gamut from vetting seminar applications, dealing with the apparently unprepared Fellow, and the seminar leaders’ work with Coordinators, through problems of seminar practice, collegiality, breaking out of the lecture format, use of the Internet, use of the library, visiting classrooms, and the writing of curriculum units, on to ways of dealing with curriculum units that threaten to be unsatisfactory. It was agreed that Jules Prown would organize a list, putting it in the sequence in which such issues might arise in the course of a site’s work. The list would then be posted in installments at appropriate times in the course of the coming year. We would hope eventually to prepare a list of frequently asked questions for a password-protected area of our Web site.
Past Institute seminar leaders discussed what would be the most useful issues that might be posted electronically in the hope of stimulating further discussion.
|The Second July Intensive Session: On March 2, Director
Vivian wrote to provide the sites with additional information on the plans
for the Intensive Session to be held on July 6-14 and to request their
further suggestions. Each site team would include six teachers from the
target schools who are current participants in the site’s own seminars
(at least one or two of whom should have attended both the 1998 Intensive
Session and the 1999 January Orientation). Each team would also include
three current or future seminar leaders who are key faculty participants
in the site’s work. As in July 1998, the program for the teachers would
include seminars and curriculum-unit development, but there would be no
written work for faculty members or directors. There would be ancillary
meetings for site representatives to compare their experiences in organizing
and conducting a Teachers Institute. Other sessions—devoted to fund raising,
financial management, university-school relations, and other topics—would
be arranged according to the requests of participants.
Each teacher would therefore participate in a National Seminar, attend a workshop on writing a curriculum unit, observe two local seminars, and meet with New Haven teachers, members of the Yale-New Haven Implementation Team, and staff of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Each new Teachers Institute would designate one of its teachers to be a Coordinator in a National Seminar; each Coordinator would also meet with other Coordinators, with James Vivian, New Haven Coordinators, and the Directors of the four new Teachers Institutes. The faculty members would each observe three National Seminars and a local seminar, attend the workshop on writing curriculum units, and meet with each other and with the National Seminar Leaders, Yale faculty members, and staff of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. It was decided, in consultation with the faculty members, that they would not remain through the last three days of the Session. Each Director would observe two local seminars, attend the workshops on writing a curriculum unit, observe Coordinators’ meetings, and meet with James Vivian, members of the Yale-New Haven Implementation Team, and staff of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. There would be talks by the four national seminar leaders, periodic team meetings, a meeting of the National Steering Committee, and a meeting of the National University Advisory Council.
In mid-April, the members of the National Steering Committee worked with the New Haven Steering Committee to review the applications of the teachers who would participate in the national seminars. Each of the four members of our Steering Committee worked with a member of the National Steering Committee, working first site by site and then seminar by seminar (as if they were Coordinators conducting a review of the applications). Then, as in 1998, these members of the New Haven Steering Committee made calls to the teachers who had been admitted into the national seminars. After this review, the Leaders of the national seminars wrote the Fellows who had been admitted to provide them with suggested readings and schedules for the seminars. Vivian also wrote each visiting Fellow to provide information on the seminar process, the writing of curriculum units, and the library and computer facilities being made available.
At the outset of the Intensive Session, the Directors of the four new Teachers Institutes offered summaries of the accomplishments and the continuing issues at each site, and the leaders of the national seminars were introduced. In meetings with faculty members, teachers, and Directors, the main problems anticipated or being encountered by those groups were considered. The National University Advisory Council discussed the present status of TIFF. Faculty members discussed how the compressed schedules in certain sites were working, and how to deal with curriculum units that appeared unsatisfactory. Many of them found their observation of the “collegiality” in both the national seminars and the local seminars to be helpful in clarifying the Institute approach. The teachers made clear that they would like a firmer role in the Annual Conference in October, and that they needed to understand more fully the roles of Representatives and Coordinators.
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Pittsburgh Director Helen S. Faison at the July Intensive Opening Session.
Faculty members found their observation of the “collegiality” in seminars to be helpful in clarifying the Institute approach.
|Patricia Lydon continued her work with the Directors on
grant management, budgets, and financial reports. James Vivian met with
the Directors both individually and as a group on a variety of administrative
issues and began to plan site visits. He, Patricia Lydon, and Thomas Whitaker
met with each site team individually to hear comments on the current accomplishments
and challenges, and offer suggestions if asked to do so. At the end of
this Intensive Session, the Directors gave summary reports on their deliberations
during the Session, their present concerns, and their plans for the coming
At this plenary meeting, several decisions about the First Annual Conference were also made. Each site would select one delegate to a planning committee for the conference; those four persons would consult widely with others at their sites, confer with each other, and provide James Vivian with recommendations. (The members of the planning committee, as later selected, were: Verna Arnold, Pittsburgh; Ninfa A. Sepulveda, Houston; Doug Earick, Albuquerque; and Heidi R. Cooley, Santa Ana.) Vivian would then circulate those recommendations to the National Steering Committee, the National University Advisory Council, and the Directors of the four Institutes for comments. It was Vivian’s view, shared by most others present, that the conference should address the exemplary practices and plans of the sites, as well as “whatever issues have arisen locally in our common work.”
The visiting Fellows in the national seminars were generally enthusiastic about their seminars, and they clearly appreciated the advance planning for them and the opportunity to think about the reading and their curriculum units before arriving in New Haven. There was, therefore, much less anxiety about completing the work than there had been in July 1998. As was evident in the responses to the Teachers Institute’s questionnaires, there was much greater satisfaction with housing conditions and the availability of library, computer, and printing resources. The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute had been able to arrange substantial improvements in all these areas. Those participating especially appreciated the presence now of the computer assistant who devoted much time to working with those who were preparing drafts of curriculum units. Teachers described their experience as “highly informative,” “stimulating,” “fantastic.” They expressed “gratitude for the very friendly atmosphere” of the seminars. And they commented on their gain of understanding of the process of writing a curriculum unit, and on how those units, though reaching only the first-draft stage here, would contribute to their classroom teaching. A number of teachers hoped that the summer component in the National Demonstration Project could continue, perhaps in some different format or at different sites.
The four Yale faculty members who served as leaders of the national seminars thought them generally to be successful. One seminar leader, who found the national seminar less satisfactory than a local seminar in New Haven, said that the absence of elementary teachers was a disadvantage. In the New Haven seminar “we learned the most, both in substance and pedagogic style, from the art teachers, the music teacher, and the elementary teachers. Their adaptations were simply more imaginative.” This seminar leader also said, “although I thought most Fellows performed remarkably, I also thought we just did not have enough time to come up to speed regarding the subject before turning to the lesson plans.”
The visiting Fellows were generally enthusiastic about their seminars, and they clearly appreciated the advance planning.
They commented on their gain of understanding of the process of writing a curriculum unit.
|Another seminar leader said, however, that
from the prospectus to the first draft, every unit grew extensively in length and became far more clearly conceived, fully worked out, and more richly detailed and documented. I was amazed they all did so much in such a short and busy period. Overall, it is extremely satisfying to work with such motivated people who bring such a range of pertinent experiences, knowledge, and insights to discussions.(image available in print form)
The national seminar on “Immigration and American Life.” (Clockwise from left: Sharon W. Saxton and Heidi R. Cooley, Santa Ana; Susan C. Leonard, Albuquerque; seminar leader Rogers M. Smith; Ninfa A. Sepólveda, Houston; Michele R. McClendon, Pittsburgh; and Joy Teague, Houston.)
This seminar leader concluded:
I found the experience of offering national seminars the last two years so satisfying, and the response from teachers so positive, that I believe we should begin exploring how the widespread desire to repeat this experience in the future can be met.Collegiality within and across the sites was an important feature of this July Intensive. A teacher expressed appreciation for being able to work with another teacher from her team, learning how to share lessons. A faculty member, while finding the sharing of experience about writing curriculum units to be “invaluable,” also confessed to being “as interested, if not more, in the experiences, procedures, and practices” at the other sites as he was in those in New Haven. A Director noted that conversation with Coordinators from New Haven and the other sites “was useful, giving us grounds for comparing our Fellows’ problems with those of others and offering some concrete ways of addressing issues.” This Director also noted that conversations with Directors from other sites “helped me to understand which challenges we have in common and which are unique to a site. We shared ideas for solving problems, heading off problems, and creating opportunities for our respective Institutes.”
Questions remained in the minds of some teachers, faculty members, and Directors: about teacher leadership, seminar planning, curriculum-unit writing, the role of Coordinators, and indeed the sixteen Basic Principles that are part of each contract and that are now printed as an appendix to the Brochure for the project. In a meeting of the Implementation Team in New Haven on July 16, these issues and others were discussed as bases for shaping the site visits (which have been described above) and the First Annual Conference. Nonetheless, the overall impression of the Implementation Team was that, as one put it, “we now have in each of the sites a core of teachers and faculty and some administrators that seem knowledgeable and excited about the Project.” It was hoped that the Annual Conference might move yet further in providing mutual education among the new Institutes themselves, and a yet fuller demonstration of collaboration within and across the sites.
“I believe we should begin exploring how the widespread desire to repeat this experience in the future can be met.” —Seminar Leader
|The First Annual Conference: The First Annual Conference
was held in New Haven on October 22-23. Its main purpose was to feature
the accomplishments of the four new Institutes. There were panels and roundtable
discussions on “The 1999 Seminars and Curriculum Units,” “Disseminating
Curriculum Units and Promoting Institutes Locally,” “Teacher Leadership
in the Institutes and in Schools,” and on the second day, a panel discussion
on “Results for Students.” The first two panels offered clear indications
of the work being done in certain seminars and of the vigorous attempts
by some teachers and Directors to promote their Institutes. Some participants
felt that the panel on “Teacher Leadership” needed to go yet further to
engage with specificity the problems and achievements in establishing groups
of Teacher Representatives. The panel on “Results for Students,” a topic
of great interest, dealt very largely with procedures that are explicitly
excluded from the present Grant. There was some vigorous argument about
methods of assessing student results, and a general opposition to the insistence
upon standardized tests and a preference for evaluations that may test
the ability to think and write creatively.
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Panel Discussion at the First Annual Conference in New Haven, October 1999. (From left: Aaron B. Chavez, Albuquerque; William J. Pisciella, Houston; Verna Arnold and Margaret M. McMackin, Pittsburgh; and Sharon W. Saxton, Santa Ana.)
Its main purpose was to feature the accomplishments of the four new Institutes.
|The concluding portion of the program dealt with “The External
Evaluation of the National Demonstration Project.” Ian Beckford and Bruce
Haslam presented the plans for the evaluation as intended by Policy Studies
Associates, which has been commissioned by the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s
Digest Fund to carry out this task. In doing so, Haslam noted that he had
been struck during the conference by the amount of institutional learning
that is already occurring. He emphasized that the Interim Reports in 2000
and 2001 would not evaluate individual projects or summarize progress on
a site by site basis. The Final Report in 2002 would include specific case
studies only as appendices. During the following discussion, some questions
were raised by teachers and faculty members about whether the evaluation
would sufficiently focus upon the Demonstration Project’s collaborative
dimensions and its intent to assist and energize teachers in ways that
go well beyond the standards that are prescribed by district mandates.
A meeting of the National Steering Committee brought forth many suggestions, most importantly that a newsletter be established for the National Demonstration Project. Thus far we have received contributions for the newsletter from two of the new Institutes. The final afternoon was kept open for individual meetings with Directors or site teams and persons from Policy Studies Associates.
It was clearer yet from the Annual Conference that the teams from the four new Institutes are in the process of working out genuine collaboration in many ways, through formal and informal meetings and other communications. They seemed to welcome the shift of emphasis on this occasion, as the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute retired somewhat in the background as observers, and delegates from the new sites had the opportunity for more direct sharing. They looked forward to a Second Annual Conference in 2000, and several team-members also expressed the hope that the national seminars in the July Intensive Session might also be continued in some fashion.
Of the Conference as a whole, one Director said: “I found all the panel discussions involving members from the demonstration sites to be very useful. This has generally been the case any time the sites have been brought together to share information and experiences, and I would welcome the opportunity to do this more frequently.” There were a few expressions of disappointment. A Director commented on the panel on “Teacher Leadership”: “Presentations drifted into testimonial too quickly for my taste. We know teacher leadership is a good thing. The questions are: How do we develop it? What are the impediments?” In general, however, those attending the Conference found it a success. One teacher said:
The overview of the seminars and the examples of the curricular units from different sites was inspiring. It was reassuring to see that all of the sites seem to face similar challenges. The format of having a panel discussion after each site’s separate presentation was particularly helpful. There was always a lively and open exchange of ideas and comments.Another teacher said: “Your conference was a total class act. I gained knowledge, insight, renewal, and a sense of hope for my profession.” A faculty member said: “Each meeting with Yale faculty and other faculty has helped immeasurably, particularly with the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the process of a seminar.”
Another faculty member, new to the Demonstration Project, wrote at length in praise of “the organization of the conference as a fully teacher-centered enterprise.” He said:
The two days were driven by a genuine interest in dialogue that cuts across all potential lines of division (geographical, institutional, professional, disciplinary). The question-and-answer periods were among the liveliest and most respectful I have encountered. I enjoyed the “creative tensions” that arise in a national project that must (and does) juggle an overall vision or organization along with the particularities of local sites. At no point were problems ever considered insurmountable; and at no point were the differences among sites . . . swept under the rug. . . . Perhaps all these positive experiences can be summed up in the commitment that I saw demonstrated at the conference to maintaining and working through ambivalences arising from often opposing goals rather than dropping one side or the other for the sake of expediency.Several participants expressed the hope that next year’s Annual Conference might take place at one of the other sites, and that the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute would now take a more obviously active part. One faculty member said: “I’d like to see the Yale participants be more fully integrated. I understand and appreciate holding them back for the Year 1 Conference, but for Year 2 they can bring some sense of history and commonality to the proceedings.” Because the purpose of this Conference was to feature the demonstration sites, we did not participate directly in any of the panels. It may be appropriate, however, for us to plan to engage more fully and visibly in the future Conferences.
“The overview of the seminars and the examples of the curricular units from different sites was inspiring.”
—Fellow from a site
“The two days were driven by a genuine interest in dialogue that cuts across all potential lines of division (geograph-ical, institutional, professional, disci-plinary).”
—Prospective Seminar Leader from a site
|The Work of the Four New Teachers Institutes
Throughout the year the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has been working with the four new Institutes in a variety of ways. Patricia Lydon, Liaison to the sites, has been frequently monitoring and advising on budgetary and organizational matters by telephone, e-mail, correspondence, and direct conversations in meetings. Director Vivian has been responsive to many questions and difficulties of a more wide-ranging character that have been raised by the sites. Contacts have been established between teachers and faculty members on the Implementation Team with their counterparts at various sites. Site visits have provided first-hand information from a variety of people, university and school administrators as well as teachers and faculty members. And the annual narrative and financial reports submitted by four new Institutes have set forth their challenges and accomplishments during this first year of implementing the National Demonstration Project. In its second Annual Report to the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has described its monitoring and technical assistance in considerable detail. Here we offer a condensed account of the experiences of the new Institutes.
Pittsburgh Teachers Institute: This Institute brings the resources of Chatham College and Carnegie Mellon University to a selected portion of a school district with 93 schools serving 41,000 students. Both institutions have previously worked with the schools, but this is the first occasion when the two institutions have collaborated on a project in partnership with the schools. The Pittsburgh Teachers Institute works with 20 elementary, middle, and high schools, representing the three regions of the district, which have volunteered to take part. Helen Faison, an experienced teacher and school administrator within the Pittsburgh Public Schools and former chair of the Education Department at Chatham College, serves as Director. Her work has clearly earned her the esteem of the teachers union and major funders in the Pittsburgh area. She is well suited to be at the center of a complex community endeavor. Barbara Lazarus, Vice-Provost at Carnegie Mellon, and Anne Steele, Vice-President at Chatham, assist Faison in matters relating to those two institutions.
This is the first occasion when the two institutions have collaborated on a project in partnership with the schools.
|On June 29, President Esther L. Barazzone of Chatham College
and President Jared L. Cohon of Carnegie Mellon University requested that
Helen Faison be relieved of the directorship until June 2000 in order to
assume the position of interim-Superintendent of Schools in Pittsburgh.
They recommended that during her absence John Groch, Assistant Professor
of Communications at Chatham College, serve as Acting Director. Director
Vivian approved this appointment, with the understanding that Groch would
be relieved of all other duties for the period of time when he is Acting
Institute Director. Presidents Jared Cohon and Esther Barazzone have also
indicated their willingness to constitute a University Advisory Council
that includes senior faculty from both campuses. In New Haven we have found
such a University Advisory Council, which can assist with advocacy, continuity,
and development, an essential piece in involving senior faculty and recruiting
faculty to become leaders.
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Pittsburgh Teachers Institute team meeting in New Haven, July 1999. (Clockwise from left: Verna Arnold, Carol M. Petett, Patricia Y. Gordon, Margaret M. McMackin, Helen S. Faison, James Davidson, Elizabeth Roark, and John Groch.)
In 1999 the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute offered four seminars for 32 teachers (26 of whom completed curriculum units): “Newspapers: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” (James Davidson, Adjunct Professor of English, Carnegie Mellon University); “American Culture in the 1950s” (John Groch, Assistant Professor of Communication, Chatham College); “Physics, Energy, and Environmental Issues” (Richard Holman, Professor of Physics, Carnegie Mellon University); and “Multicultural Literature: French African and Creole Writers” (Janet Walker, Professor of French and Chair, Department of Modern Languages, Chatham College). The curriculum units have been printed, distributed, and made available on the Institute’s Web site.
School Representatives from the 12 largest schools served by the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute had been convened as an Implementation Committee to supervise the planning of seminars and the applications process. A Fellow from each seminar was selected to serve as a coordinator, responsible, along with the Institute’s Director, for reviewing the curriculum unit to ensure its adherence to the academic standards and core curriculum of the Pittsburgh Public Schools. At each step of the process, units were submitted to seminar coordinators, who reviewed them to be sure that they specifically addressed at least some of the School District’s 62 standards for Communication, World Languages, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mathematics, and/or Arts and Humanities.
For 2000, seven seminars are planned: “Pittsburgh Writers,” James Davidson (English, Carnegie Mellon University); “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Pittsburgh History” (Steffi Domike, Art, Chatham College); “From Eureka to Newton’s Apple: Scientific though from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance” (John Hagen, Chemistry, Chatham College); “Learning Physics through Science Fiction” (Richard Holman, Physics, Carnegie Mellon University); “American History through Art” (Elisabeth Roark, Art, Chatham College); “Proof in Mathematics: Origin, Practice, Crisis” (Juan Jorge Schäffer, Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University); and “Religion in American Society” (Janet Stocks, History, Carnegie Mellon University). The Institute’s seminar schedule is closely modeled on that in New Haven.
The Pittsburgh Teachers Institute has attracted much favorable publicity and seems in a very good position with regard to fund-raising.
|The Pittsburgh Teachers Institute has the support of the
highest administrators in both Chatham College and Carnegie Mellon University,
as well as the administration of the Pittsburgh Public Schools. It has
attracted much favorable publicity within the city and seems in a very
good position with regard to fund-raising. The Grable Foundation has awarded
a grant of $140,000; the Hillman Foundation a grant of $60,000; and the
Henry C. Frick Educational Fund of the Buhl Foundation a grant of $60,000.
Houston Teachers Institute: In the fourth largest city in the United States, the Houston Teachers Institute brings the resources of the University of Houston to the Houston Independent School District, where 280 schools serve 212,000 students. The University is a state-supported research and teaching institution that draws most of its students from the Greater Houston area. The Institute works with 20 self-selected middle and high schools enrolling 31,300 students to establish a program that will address the needs of an ethnically mixed student-body, a large proportion of whom are non-English speaking. Paul Cooke, who has been a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, serves as Director. He has tried to model the Houston program very closely on that in New Haven and has sought frequent contact and assistance from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.
In 1999 the Institute offered six seminars for 75 teachers (60 of whom completed curriculum units): “Symmetry, Patterns, and Designs” (Michael Field, Professor of Mathematics); “Hollywood Distortions of History” (Garth Jowett, Professor of Communication); “The United States in the 1960s” (Lawrence Curry, Assistant Professor of History and Associate Dean); “Technology and the Discipline of Chemistry” (Simon G. Bott, Research Associate Professor of Chemistry); “The History, Economic Base, and Politics of Houston” (Richard Murray, Professor of Political Science); and “Addressing Evil” (Cynthia A. Freeland, Professor of Philosophy).
The Houston Teachers Institute now has a vigorous group of teacher leaders. Its Teacher Representatives have been meeting regularly to carry forward the work of the Institute. The week-to-week business of the seminar program has been monitored by the Coordinators Committee.
President Arthur Smith has also expressed interest in naming faculty members to an Advisory Council for the Institute. And from the very beginning the Institute has benefited from the enthusiastic support of Susan Sclafani, Chief of Staff for Academic Operations at the Houston Independent School District.
In the short term, however, the financial situation has been unexpectedly difficult. Still, very encouragingly, at Sclafani’s request, HISD provided $50,000 to help meet the budget for 1999. And an application made to the Houston Endowment, to be applied to commitments made by both HISD and the University of Houston, resulted on January 18, 2000, in a grant of $150,000.
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Houston Teachers Institute team members in New Haven, July 1999. (From left: Front row: Daniel Addis, Joy Teague, William J. Pisciella, Paul Cooke, and Ninfa A. Sepulveda. Second row: Jurrell L. Gilliam and Natalie Martinez.)
The Houston Teachers Institute now has a vigorous group of teacher leaders.
|The Institute will mount six seminars again in 2000. They
will include: “Adolescence and Alienation” (Professor William Monroe),
“Global Warming and Air Pollution” (Professor James Lawrence), “Issues
in Creativity” (Professor David Jacobs), “Critical Analysis of Greek and
Roman Myths” (Professor Dora Pozzi), “Jazz and Its History” (Professor
Noe Marmolejo), and “The Making of Mexican America” (Professor Guadalupe
The Houston Teachers Institute is in many respects vigorous and self-critical, and it is well-supported by faculty members and the school district. It has made great strides toward achieving a replication on its own terms of the program of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.
The Houston Teachers
Institute is vigorous and self-critical, and
well-supported by faculty members and the school district.
|Albuquerque Teachers Institute:
Located in a state that ranks near the bottom of the nation on many economic
and educational indices, including per capita expenditures on students
and on teachers’ salaries, and in a school district that has serious morale
problems among teachers and a high attrition rate among students, the Albuquerque
Teachers Institute has thus far been able to meet its considerable challenges.
It brings the resources of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University
of New Mexico, the flagship state institution of higher education, to a
selected portion of a district that serves 85,800 students in 121 schools
and enrolls a high percentage of Hispanic students from low-income families.
This Institute has selected 21 middle and high schools where the problem
of attrition is most serious. It has also sought to establish the relevance
and interest of its program for both teachers and students by focusing
on topics that link the Southwest and contemporary issues. In 1999, it
offered four seminars for 36 teachers (35 of whom completed a curriculum
unit): “Archaeoastronomy” (Michael Zeilik, Professor of Astronomy); “Environmental
Impacts of Human Settlement and Urbanization on the Albuquerque Region”
(Leslie D. McFadden, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences); “Architecture
in the Southwest” (Anne Taylor, Professor of Architecture); and “Political
Culture in New Mexico” (Phillip B. Gonzales, Associate Professor of Sociology).
This Institute is testing the workability of a Co-Directorship. Laura Cameron, who had been director of Freshman Mathematics and Planning Director for the project, was able to serve as Co-Director only for the first seven months of 1999. The other Co-Director, Wanda Martin, Associate Professor of English, who had been director of Freshman English, could serve for a longer period. After consultation with teachers and faculty, as well as with the Director of APS Strategic Professional Development, it was proposed by Wanda Martin and Michael Fischer, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, that Cameron be succeeded by Doug Earick, a senior teacher at Albuquerque High School, and a leader in the Institute planning process. Earick’s appointment must be renewed (as must all the district’s budgetary support) on an annual basis.
This Institute has selected 21 middle and high schools where the problem of a high attrition rate is most serious.
|The President of the University of New Mexico, William
C. Gordon, understands the Institute’s distinctive qualities, has acquainted
himself with the seminar topics, has read curriculum units, and is prepared
to give strong administrative support. Dean Michael Fischer is also a strong
supporter of the Institute; and Superintendent Brad Allison and his associates
have also indicated their support.
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Albuquerque Teachers Institute team meeting in New Haven, July 1999. (Clockwise from left: Lorraine B. Martinez, Les McFadden, Colston Chandler, Jennifer D. Murphy, Felipe Gonzales, Tom R. Mace, Douglas Earick, Wanda Martin, Susan C. Leonard, and Aaron B. Chavez.)
Co-Director Earick has very good contacts with teachers, is recruiting vigorously, and is being helped by enthusiastic Fellows. A detailed schedule was established for meetings of Teacher Representatives to determine seminars and invite applications. The handbook for Teacher Representatives is a model that might well be imitated by other Institutes, and there is an excellent brochure for general distribution. Although Representatives have not yet been established in all 21 schools being served, the Co-Directors have recruited Representatives from nine schools not represented in the 1999 seminars.
The 1999 curriculum units have been published and are on the Institute’s Web site. There are links that also take one to the Web sites to which the teachers refer in their bibliographies. The plans for next year include some seminars that have no specific emphasis on the Southwest. The seminar schedule is also being revised, on the recommendation of both Fellows and seminar leaders, to extend the intensive period to four weeks, and to distribute materials in advance.
Six seminars are planned for 2000: “Weighing Environmental Risks: Uncertainties and Variables” (Professor David S. Gutzler, Department of Earth and Planetary Science); “The Indo-Hispano Cultural Legacy of New Mexico” (Professor Enrique Lamadrid, Department of Spanish and Portuguese); “Human Decision-Making: Rational and Irrational” (Professor Kate Krause, Department of Economics); “The United States of America: The Ideal and the Reality” (Professor Fred Harris, Department of Political Science); “Atomic America: Technology, Representation, and Culture in the 20th Century” (Professor Timothy Moy, Department of History); and “Literature and the Environment” (Professor Gary Harrison, Department of English).
The Albuquerque Teachers Institute is working to develop sustainable funding. President Gordon approved a special legislative request that would jointly fund professional development projects in the Colleges of Education and Arts & Sciences. The COE project would train university faculty in using instructional technology, and A&S would contribute to teacher quality in the schools by providing Teachers Institute seminars in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences.
This request is extraordinary in its significance, for it gives equal importance to the funding of the Albuquerque Teachers Institute and the funding of the School of Education’s proposal. Although the bill embodying this request was given first priority by the Commission on Higher Education, it did not obtain final legislative approval in 1999 because of the Governor’s opposition to any education bill that did not provide for school vouchers. The proposal was renewed for 2000. It is now explicitly coupled with the expectation that state funding would require the Teachers Institute to expand in some fashion on a state-wide basis. President Gordon has said, however, that the University will financially support the Institute even without the State aid that has been requested.
President Gordon approved a special legislative request that would jointly fund professional development projects in the Colleges of Education and Arts & Sciences.
|The William Randolph Hearst Foundation has awarded the
Institute a grant of $42,500. Requests have also been made of other foundations.
UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute: To Santa Ana, a city with 52 schools serving 59,000 students, the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute brings the resources of the nearby University of California at Irvine. The University has long worked with school systems in several neighboring districts, recently through its Center for Educational Partnerships. The UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute focuses on a selected 26 elementary, middle, and high schools, representing all four areas of the Santa Ana system.
The Principal Investigator for the project is William J. Lillyman, Executive Vice Chancellor. The Director is Barbara Kuhn Al-Bayati, who has been the Partnership Liaison in the Center for Educational Partnerships at the University.
This Institute has an opportunity to show that curriculum units work well in a mainly Hispanic environment where most students have limited fluency in English. This is of special importance because the California systems of education face serious problems as a result of the discontinuance of affirmative action admissions to higher education and the discontinuance of bilingual education in the schools. The legislature has therefore provided the state universities additional funds to work on outreach.
This Institute has an opportunity to show that curriculum units
work well in a mainly Hispanic environment where most students have limited fluency in English.
|In 1999, the Institute offered six seminars for 52 teachers
(45 of whom completed a curriculum unit): “Myths and Their Transformations”,
(Julia Reinhard Lupton, Associate Professor of English and Comparative
Literature); “Discrete Mathematics and Computer Science” (Jean-Claude Falmagne,
Professor of Cognitive Sciences, and Stephen Franklin, Assistant Director
of Academic Outreach in the Office of Academic Computing and Lecturer in
Information and Computer Science); “The (Re)presentation of History in
Film and Video: Narrative and Media” (Thelma Foote, Associate Professor
of History and Acting Director of African American Studies); “The Hardy
Personality in Theory, Research, and Practice” (Salvatore Maddi, Professor
of Psychology and Social Behavior, and Deborah Khoshaba, Director of Program
Development and Training for the Hardiness Institute); “Law and Morality”
(John Dombrink, Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society); and “Theorizing
U. S. National Identity through Multicultural Texts” (Lindon Barrett, Associate
Professor of English and Comparative Literature).
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UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute team meeting with New Haven representatives, July 1999. (Clockwise from left: Tyra H. Demateis, Barbara Kuhn Al-Bayati, Thomas R. Whitaker of New Haven, Stephen D. Franklin, Mel E. Sanchez, James R. Vivian and Patricia Lydon of New Haven, Thelma W. Foote, Sharon W. Saxton, Elizabeth A. Enloe, Heidi R. Cooley, and Timeri K. Tolnay.)
The UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute has a committed group of seminar leaders and Coordinators. It also has a group of 20 Teacher Representatives that will work together more fully in the coming year. The faculty leadership here is potentially very strong. The Faculty Advisory Council is co-chaired by Professors Julia Lupton, John Dombrink, and Thelma Foote.
There is administrative support in the University and the School District at the highest level. After the Grant was awarded, Ralph J. Cicerone, UCI Chancellor, said, “Currently, Santa Ana high schools send only a small number of graduates to UC Irvine. This grant, along with UCI’s other educational partnership programs, can help us in our efforts to change that.” Executive Vice Chancellor Lillyman has stated that there should be no problem in obtaining necessary financial support for this Teachers Institute over the long term. Superintendent Al Mijares of the Santa Ana Unified School District has also expressed great enthusiasm for the Teachers Institute. Both Assistant Vice Chancellor Juan Francisco Lara and Executive Vice Chancellor Lillyman have spoken of the possibility of later expansion through the University of California system.
The curriculum units for 1999 have been published, and plans have been made for seven seminars in 2000. They include: “Natural History of Orange County” (Peter Bryant , Developmental and Cell Biology); “U.S. Literary Culture and Globalization” (John C. Rowe, English and Comparative Literature); “What Are the Chances of That? Probability in Everyday Life” (Amelia Regan, Civil and Environmental Engineering); “The Hardy Personality in Theory, Research and Practice” (Salvatore Maddi, Psychology and Social Behavior, and Deborah Khoshaba, Hardiness Institute); “Teaching Religion Critically” (John H. Smith, German); “Inventing America” (Michael Clark, English and Comparative Literature; Jacobo Sefamí, Spanish and Portuguese; and Steven Topik, History), and “Impacts of Computer and Networking Technologies on Education” (Stephen D. Franklin, Information and Computer Science.)
“Currently, Santa Ana high schools send only a small number of graduates to UC Irvine. This grant, along with UCI’s other educational partner-ship programs, can help us in our efforts to change that.”
—Ralph J. Cicerone, UCI Chancellor
The Annual Report for 1998 gave a complete account of the distinctive pattern of needs and resources at each of the four new Teachers Institutes. Each is at a somewhat different stage of development; and each in certain ways may serve as a model for the establishment of Teachers Institutes elsewhere in the United States. The Institutes will also illustrate different patterns of relationship to state mandates, local resources, and institutional apparatus—and the state-funded universities will be especially interesting in this regard. Each site has also gone through a distinctive process in arranging for a director.
We have noted in this Annual Report some of the major challenges and accomplishments at each of the four new Teachers Institutes. Here we summarize briefly the most important accomplishments of the National Demonstration Project as a whole and note some of their implications.
The Project has already demonstrated in four different cities larger than New Haven:
• That a Teachers Institute serving approximately 20 schools can be rapidly inaugurated
The project has already demonstrated that such
Institutes will arouse the enthusiasm and support of significant numbers of teachers and university
|With regard to the prospects for continuity and sustainability
beyond the terms of the Grant, the signs are optimistic indeed. At all
four sites, many teachers who have been Fellows are becoming enthusiastic
recruiters of new Fellows. At all four sites, faculty members are learning
the importance of Institute procedures and with administrative help are
forming Faculty Advisory Councils. At all four sites, top-level administrators
in institutions of higher education have pledged to assist in the seeking
of funds. At two sites (Albuquerque and Irvine-Santa Ana) they have pledged
university financial support in addition. At all four sites, school districts
have made a significant financial commitment. And at two sites (Pittsburgh
and Houston), school administrators are providing significant help in the
seeking of additional funds.
At the outset, we had not known how each site would meet the very stiff requirements of cost-sharing for this Grant. This has been accomplished significantly through the help of district funds but in a variety of ways. At UCI-Santa Ana the University is the major contributor; at Albuquerque the contributions of University and district are roughly equal; at Houston the district has been of primary assistance; and at Pittsburgh outside funding has been of greatest importance.
At all four sites, many teachers who have been Fellows are becoming enthusiastic recruiters of new Fellows.
|It is also important that all four of the Teachers Institutes
are paying close attention, in different ways, to the mandates, standards,
and interests of local school districts and state educational systems.
Fellows have discussed the ways in which such standards may be tacitly
or explicitly incorporated into the curriculum units. In Pittsburgh, Houston,
and Albuquerque some seminars have emphasized local history, literature,
geography, architecture, ecology, and economics. And in Pittsburgh there
has been a special effort to make certain that both seminars and curriculum
units are in accord with the district academic standards.
The prospects for longer-term scaling-up also look very good at this point. The Teachers Institutes at the four demonstration sites already point toward different means through which this might be accomplished. Al Mijares, Superintendent of the Santa Ana Unified School District, wrote on November 11, 1999, “I hope eventually that all of our teachers and students will benefit from teacher participation in the Institute.” Susan Sclafani, Chief of Staff for Academic Operations at the Houston Independent School District, has stated that HISD is committed to establishing the Institute beyond the three-year implementation period, and she has offered to form a committee for long-range planning. She is also interested in the possibility of using some of the District funds for professional development that are appropriated to each school as a means to assist the Institute. In Pittsburgh, two institutions of higher education have established a consortium that can serve as a model for expansion elsewhere. And in Albuquerque and Irvine-Santa Ana, top-level administrators are thinking about the possibility of expansion not just within one city but also elsewhere in the state.
A joint statement by President Esther L. Barazzone of Chatham College and President Jared L. Cohon of Carnegie Mellon University and a statement by Executive Vice Chancellor Lillyman of the University of California at Irvine will serve to illustrate the administrative support that is crucial to such scaling-up—at these institutions and others throughout the nation.
All four Teachers Institutes are paying close attention to the mandates, standards, and interests of local school districts and state educational systems.
|In the course of contract negotiations, Presidents Barazzone
and Cohon wrote on March 2, 1999, as follows:
On behalf of Chatham College and Carnegie Mellon University, we would like to reiterate our intent to function as a consortium in all aspects of the creation and sustenance of our Pittsburgh Teachers Institute. As proof of our commitment to this consortium, we have pledged to seek outside funding for the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute as a team. We have, respectively, charged our development personnel to work with Dr. Helen Faison and Mr. Phil Parr (Director of Planning and Strategic Development at the Pittsburgh Public Schools) in targeting foundation suppport for this project. Thus, we envision that neither Carnegie Mellon University nor Chatham College will have sole responsibility for raising matching funds. To the contrary, both institutions will have collective responsibility for raising these funds. The funds that our consortium raises and the funds that we receive from Yale University we hope to place in a unified Pittsburgh Teachers Institute account. . . . We believe that this accounting model reflects our true commitment to function as a consortium, not three separate entities.In forwarding the Annual Report from the Irvine-Santa Ana Teachers Institute, Executive Vice Chancellor Lillyman wrote:
The goals and practices of the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute are in keeping with the University of California and UCI’s outreach mission, to expand educational opportunities for all Californians. Creating innovative opportunities for professional development is a key strategy in our efforts towards this goal. When teachers are inspired to take responsibility for the knowledge process through active engagement in reading, writing, and research, they can have a strong effect on the intellectual lives and futures of their students.
The chance to participate in a national dialogue on educational content and policy is an added benefit of this project, which combines serious and concerted focus on local problems with sustained reflection and interchange among sites across the nation.This “interchange among sites across the nation” is a major objective of the National Demonstration Project. In fact, as the increasing collaboration evident in the Annual Conference, the establishment of Web sites, and the proposals for future Annual Conferences, additional national seminars, and a newsletter have indicated, this is also a swiftly developing area of national accomplishment. A substantial momentum now impels the Institutes at all five sites to work more closely with each other. And that accomplishment points toward the potential expansion of this effort in the future to include Institutes at yet other sites.
“The chance to participate in a national dialogue on educational content and policy is an added benefit of this project.”
—William J. Lillyman, UCI Executive Vice Chancellor
|Learning in New Haven
In the Annual Report for 1998 we noted under this heading that the staff and the Implementation Team had become increasingly convinced that there is no substitute for direct observation and participation in the process of getting acquainted with the principles and practices of the Teachers Institute. We also noted that New Haven teachers and Yale University faculty members are learning as individuals, gaining among other things a heightened sense of being part of a national community of concerned educators. This year the July Intensive Session and, especially, the Annual Conference gave us as a group and as individuals a much clearer sense of participating in a collaborative endeavor.
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Meeting of national seminar leaders with faculty from Demonstration sites at the Intensive Ses-sion. (Clockwise from left: Stephen D. Franklin, Irvine; Rogers M. Smith, New Haven; Elizabeth Roark, Pittsburgh; John P. Wargo, New Haven; Felipe Gonzales, Albuquerque; Guadalupe San Miguel and Lawrence Curry, Houston; Colston Chandler, Albuquerque; and Thelma W. Foote, Irvine.)
We have also been watching carefully the organizational arrangements and the funding initiatives at each site for any clues they may provide that will be of benefit to our own operation. Certain seminars offered at the four sites may also alert us to topics that have been insufficiently explored by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.
We also noted in the Annual Report for 1998 that some learning in New Haven is of provisional usefulness: it will depend upon whether we are able to proceed in the future with a second phase of the National Demonstration Project. If so, we said, there are a number of revisions in the Request for Proposals that should be made and the “Basic Commitments,” now called “Principles,” should also be strengthened and clarified. Our work with several sites this year concerning participant-leadership among the teachers and the responsibilities and functions of the Director of an Institute, and our continuing concerns about the “long-term” nature of the seminars, have further heightened our sense that these revisions would be needed. Our review of the “Basic Principles” in the light of this experience, and our assessment of the difficulties that arise when certain of them are misunderstood or ignored, lead us to the conclusion that each of these Principles is necessary to the distinctive nature of the Institute approach. Indeed, there are other commitments that might well be added—for example, the requirement of a faculty advisory council of some kind, and more detailed requirements for a body of Teacher Representatives composed of those actually participating in the seminars. A revision of the “Basic Principles,” moreover, would ideally go somewhat further in spelling out the integral rationale that dictates them and the unfortunate consequences of assuming that certain of them are peripheral or unnecessary. And such a revision might well also divide certain of the Principles that contain multiple and quite distinct provisions.
As we work with the other Teachers Institutes now in operation, we are also gaining a fuller sense of the necessary balance between being a monitor of those Institutes and being a senior colleague. This balance has sometimes been difficult to maintain, especially when those at other sites have erroneously assumed that this Teachers Institute offers a “Yale approach” rather than something worked out in collaboration with the New Haven teachers, or when they have failed to recognize the actual flexibility of this approach and have mistakenly regarded its basic specifications as hindrances to their own independence and creativity. Here the learning must be mutual as we continue to work together.
Meeting of national seminar leaders with faculty from Demonstration sites at the Intensive Ses-sion. (Clockwise from left: Stephen D. Franklin, Irvine; Rogers M. Smith, New Haven; Elizabeth Roark, Pittsburgh; John P. Wargo, New Haven; Felipe Gonzales, Albuquerque; Guadalupe San Miguel and Lawrence Curry, Houston; Colston Chandler, Albuquerque; and Thelma W. Foote, Irvine.)
Our view of the “Basic Principles,” and our assessment of the difficulties that arise when certain of them are misunderstood or ignored, lead us to the conclusion that each of these Principles is necessary to the distinctive nature of the Institute approach.
|On Common Ground
With support in part from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Institute published Number 8 (Winter 1998) of its periodical, On Common Ground, which has a national circulation to policy-makers, educational leaders, and funders. The Editorial, “Taking Stock and Looking Ahead,” surveyed the four years of publication of this periodical, noting the high points in each Number, and making clear the scope and sequence that had been planned and supervised by the Editorial Board. It summarized the Institute’s year of planning for the National Demonstration Project, and it concluded that On Common Ground would have great potential as a means of disseminating their experience and their results to a wider readership of those interested in university-school partnership.
During 1998 and 1999, because funding had not been received for this purpose, no further Number of On Common Ground was published. Funds for its continuation are still being sought. In the meantime, plans are being laid for Number 9, to be published during the year 2000. The periodical will retain its broad focus on issues concerning university-school partnerships, but this Number, which had already been designated by the Editorial Board as focusing on “Urban Partnerships,” will contain a special section featuring the National Demonstration Project. It will include articles from administrators, faculty, and teachers at the four new Teachers Institutes. Contribution of such articles was specified in the Request for Proposals as a condition of awarding a Grant to a demonstration site. The Editorial Board and the Editorial Advisory Board are also being reconstituted to facilitate this new emphasis for the periodical.
|Looking Toward the Future
As indicated in the section on “National Accomplishments,” this first year of the National Demonstration Project has seen the establishment of four new Teachers Institutes, each of which has been successfully adapting the approach of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute to a situation with quite different needs and resources. There is clearly a desire on the part of all five Teachers Institutes to continue their collaboration in some form after the conclusion of the three-year grant from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. At each of the four new Teachers Institutes there is also considerable interest in the possibility of expansion, either within the city (Pittsburgh, Houston) or within the state (Albuquerque, Irvine-Santa Ana). It seems likely that the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute will seek funding to assist with the establishment of a second group of demonstrations, perhaps under a variety of auspices. Certainly the visibility of the National Demonstration Project would be greatly enhanced by an expansion of the group now established.
|National Advisory Groups
The National Steering Committee, formed on the model of the Steering Committee that helps to guide the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, is composed of one school teacher from each site participating in the National Demonstration Project. Members of the National Steering Committee are selected by the Director of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute for a one-year term from January through December. They will be teachers prepared to help guide the project, to help plan the conferences, and to suggest topics most in need of discussion. They will provide and receive other advice and information, and help ensure that teachers play a leading role in the demonstrations and in the common work. They will also provide feedback on the usefulness of each meeting and will further the communication among the sites. A Steering Committee member must be—and must intend to continue as—a teacher in one of the public schools participating in the National Demonstration Project. In separate and joint meetings with the National University Advisory Council, they will provide a forum in which shared opportunities and problems can be discussed to the mutual benefit of all.
By agreeing to serve as a National Steering Committee member, a teacher accepts the following responsibilities. Each member:
1. Exerts leadership and participates actively in one or more of the major endeavors at a demonstration siteMembers of the Steering Committee for 1999 include Marge McMackin of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute, Ninfa Sepólveda of the Houston Teachers Institute, Jennifer D. Murphy of the Albuquerque Teachers Institute, and Mel E. Sanchez of the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute.
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National Steering Committee meeting with members of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Steering Committee, July 1999. (Clockwise from center rear: Mel E. Sanchez, Santa Ana; Peter N. Herndon, Pedro Mendia, and Jean E. Sutherland, New Haven; Jennifer D. Murphy, Albuquerque; Ninfa A. Sepólveda, Houston; Margaret M. McMackin, Pittsburgh; and James R. Vivian.)
The committee decided in January that its main tasks would be (1) to help to plan the July Intensive and the October Conferences, (2) to encourage teachers at their own sites to assume leadership roles in each Institute, and (3) to establish means of communication among teachers at the four sites that would not have to be funneled through the office of each Director. In April the committee then joined with the New Haven Steering Committee to make the final allocations to the national seminars. It then worked with a special planning committee to organize the program for the First Annual Conference in October. Meeting during that conference, it made many suggestions, most importantly that a newsletter be established for the National Demonstration Project.
The National Steering Committee will help ensure that teachers play a leading role in the demonstrations and in the common work.
|National University Advisory Council
The National University Advisory Council, formed on the model of the University Advisory Council that helps to guide the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, is composed of one university faculty member from each site participating in the National Demonstration Project. The members of the National University Advisory Council are selected by the Director of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute for a one-year term from January through December. They will be faculty members prepared to help guide the general direction of the project, to help plan the conferences, and to suggest topics most in need of discussion. They will provide and receive other advice and information, and help ensure that university faculty members play a leading role in the demonstrations and in the common work. They will also provide feedback on the usefulness of each meeting and will further the communication among the sites. In separate and joint meetings with the National Steering Committee of teachers, they will provide a forum in which shared opportunities and problems can be discussed to the benefit of all.
By agreeing to serve on the National University Advisory Council, a faculty member accepts the following responsibilities. Each member:
1. Exerts leadership and serves as an advisor at a demonstration siteMembers of the National University Advisory Council for 1999 include James Davidson of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute, William Monroe of the Houston Teachers Institute, Colston Chandler of the Albuquerque Teachers Institute, and Thelma Foote of the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute.
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Members of the National University Advisory Council. (From left: Colston Chandler, Albuquerque; Thelma W. Foote, Irvine; and James Davidson, Pittsburgh.)
The Council discussed at length the role and value of faculty participation at different kinds of institutions.
|This Council decided in January that its main tasks would be (1) to help plan the July Intensive and the October Conferences, (2) to assist each site to keep before the university or college the appropriateness of faculty participation in outreach activities to schools, thus sharing much needed educational resources, and (3) to establish means of communication among faculty at the four sites (including an electronic ListServ) that would not have to be funneled through the office of each Director. It discussed at length the role and value of faculty participation at different kinds of institutions and the nature of their contribution to the larger community. There was agreement that a major aim of the National Demonstration Project should be the exploring of new roles and models for faculty in higher education in order to recognize their responsibility for education in the wider community and the nation. The Council also began deliberations on the appropriate participation of faculty in the July Intensive. In July it advised Jules Prown on the possible functions of TIFF, the electronic forum for faculty. It also worked with the special planning committee to organize the First Annual Conference.||
|National Program Documentation and Evaluation
Extensive and complex processes of evaluation, with elaborate questionnaires for Fellows and seminar leaders, have always been part of the procedures of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Such evaluation has been extremely important in persuading funders, the University, and others of the value of this effort. It has also been important as a continual self-monitoring that helps the Teachers Institute to chart its course into the future. For these reasons the National Demonstration Project requires that each of the new Teachers Institutes engage in very similar kinds of internal evaluation. Each is committed to undertaking at its own cost, in cooperation with the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, an annual review of the progress of the project. Each partnership assumes responsibility for a continuing self-evaluation.
Each partnership assumes responsibility for a continuing self-evaluation.
|Such internal documentation and evaluation at each site
becomes part of a more comprehensive evaluation undertaken by the Yale-New
Haven Teachers Institute and embodied in its annual and final reports to
the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. The four new Teachers Institutes
provide Institute staff, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Implementation
Team, and other documenters sent by that Institute with full access to
their activities and their documentation, including school and university
personnel and sites. Significant failure to reach stated goals of the demonstration,
or to maintain the demonstration in accordance with the conditions agreed
upon, could result in the termination of the funding.
Each Teachers Institute submits interim financial reports, annual narrative and financial reports, and a final narrative and financial report. The contracts with the several sites spell out in detail the necessary contents of these reports.
The financial reports contain interim and annual financial accountings of expenditures made under the terms of this Agreement, including verification of cost-sharing. They set forth in detail the cost of operating the Institute, provide a documentation of other funds allocated to the Institute, and indicate the availability of long-term funding sources. The final report will provide such accounting for the full term of the Grant.
The annual narrative reports include as attachments two copies of all brochures, schedules, seminar proposals, curriculum units, questionnaires, reports, and news articles.
The first report, for 1999, explained how the new Institute is addressing certain concerns that were noted on the occasion of the awarding of the Grant. It also described the scope, the strategy, and the demonstration goals of the new Teachers Institute. It explained the process by which it has been established and maintained, the ways that it has adapted the New Haven approach, its current activities, and the progress made toward the specific goals of the site’s demonstration. Subsequent reports will include continuing description of the Institute’s activities and progress.
Each report also includes:
1. Evidence that the new Institute is faithful to the key parts of the New Haven approach (the Basic Commitments outlined in the Request for Proposals for Implementation Grants)At least once during the grant period, an annual report will include a survey of the use of curriculum units by Fellows and non-Fellows in the school system. Each report will also include a summary that sets forth in brief compass the accomplishments and impact of the demonstration, the impediments encountered, the unanticipated outcomes, and the lessons learned thus far.
The annual reports may also, at the discretion of the partnership, include information that it has obtained based on assessment of curriculum units or system-wide surveys of their teachers. Though the sites may also undertake, and report on, evaluation of students who are being taught by Fellows in the adaptations, such evaluations will not be supported by the Grant for this project or any cost-sharing that is contributed to its budget.
The information gleaned from this documentation will be used for annual conferences and for directors’ meetings, designed to provide continuing conversation among the sites, to enable comparison and revision of the demonstrations in progress. It will also be used to inform the Institute’s dissemination of the results of the project. It should have great usefulness for each of the demonstration sites in their local management, planning, and fund-raising.
The final narrative report from the several sites will summarize the three-year demonstration in terms of the items covered by the annual narrative reports and will then answer the following questions:
1. What do you think are the most important outcomes, impacts, and lessons learned from this project?The information contained in these annual and final reports is being transmitted with the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute’s annual and final reports to the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. Those reports by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute provide its own supplementary interpretation and assessment of the National Demonstration Project in accord with the criteria that have been specified in the awarding of the Implementation Grants.
The DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest fund has contracted with Policy Studies Associates, a research and social policy firm based in Washington, D.C., to evaluate the National Demonstration Project. The evaluation will examine the implementation of Teachers Institutes at universities and their partner schools participating in the project from 1999-2002.
The Fund is supporting the National Demonstration Project and its evaluation to accomplish two goals: to contribute to the professional development of teachers by supporting partnerships between universities and public school systems that draw upon the experiences of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute; and to gather information that will enable others to decide whether to build similar partnerships using their own resources. The Fund-commissioned evaluation will provide universities and public school systems throughout the nation with answers to the questions that they are likely to have about the utility of the National Demonstration Project as a source of ideas that they could use to create Teachers Institutes in their communities.
Over the course of their work, researchers will focus on examining and documenting the following:
• The experiences and perceptions of teachers who participate in the Institutes, as well as school administrators who interact with the InstituteThe Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute and the Institutes established at the partnership sites are cooperating fully with this assessment of the National Demonstration Project by Policy Studies Associates. The four new Teachers Institutes are providing the evaluators from Policy Study Associates with full access to their activities and their documentation, including school and university personnel and sites. This external evaluation is not being used for grant-monitoring purposes, which are entirely in the province of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. The external evaluation will complement the information-gathering activities of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, and will use and incorporate the information that this Institute collects.
(image available in print form)
Plenary Session with representatives of Policy Studies Associates at the First Annual Conference in New Haven, October 1999.