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 (now the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds), 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 the Teachers Institute had invited fourteen sites to submit proposals for 8-month Planning Grants, had supervised the awarding of Planning Grants on recommendation of a National Panel to five of the seven applicants, had provided for the sites receiving Planning Grants a "July Intensive" that enabled a practical immersion in the processes of the Institute, and had then, on recommendation of the National Panel, awarded 3-year Implementation Grants 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 District.
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 a variety of institutional arrangements and different strategies in approaching those problems. The institutions of higher education include: in Pittsburgh a partnership between a private university focused upon the sciences and a small liberal arts college; in Houston a state-supported urban university; in Albuquerque a flagship state university; and in Irvine a university that is part of a larger state system and is collaborating with the nearby school district of Santa Ana.
During 1999 the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute began, in part through a January Orientation Session, a second July Intensive Session, and the First Annual Conference in October, to work with the four new Teachers Institutes on their plans for the coming years, to provide them with technical assistance, and to encourage their collaboration. It continued to work also with the newly established National Steering Committee and National University Advisory Council. It conducted the first series of the expected annual site visits to the new Teachers Institutes. And it began to work with the contracted external evaluator for the Project, Policy Studies Associates.
During 2000, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute continued these efforts, in part through a Directors' Meeting in April and a second series of site visits to the new Teachers Institutes. With the help of the National Steering Committee, the National University Advisory Council, and a specially appointed planning committee, it conducted the Second Annual Conference in October, during which all five Teachers Institutes now collaborated in presenting the major challenges and accomplishments of the National Demonstration thus far. It also, as described earlier, held a meeting in November of the National Advisory Committee jointly with senior administrators from the partnerships collaborating in the new Teachers Institutes, during which there was enthusiastic support and helpful discussion of a Draft Proposal for the next phase of the national initiative. It continued to work with the contracted external evaluator, Policy Studies Associates. As will be described more fully in a later section, it began detailed planning for Number 9 of the periodical On Common Ground, which will feature the processes and accomplishments of the National Demonstration Project. And, in response to the suggestions made at the meeting of the National Advisory Committee and senior administrators from the new Teachers Institutes, it revised and expanded its Draft Proposal for the further establishing of Teachers Institutes.
|The Roles of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
During the Grant from the Fund, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has a dual relationship to the four other Teachers Institutes. It is both the monitor of the Re-Grants to those Institutes and a senior colleague. It is responsible for offering technical assistance, for convening in 1999 the January Orientation Session and the July Intensive Session, for convening Directors' meetings in 2000 and 2001, and for convening in 1999, 2000, and 2001 the Annual Conferences in October. It 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 network 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. It receives reports from the new Teachers Institute and compiles its own report to the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds. It collaborates with Policy Studies Associates in providing information for their external evaluation. 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 network that might in the future extend its membership to include Institutes at yet other sites.
These various roles have 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 in that year, the plenary meetings were held about a pentagonal table in order to signal the fundamental equality of the five collaborating Institutes. 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 were then calls for more equal participation of all five Institutes in the Second Annual Conference in October 2000. The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute therefore joined the other Institutes in sending a team to this Conference, and the national planning committee shaped a program that would ensure that the various topics were presented by representation from all Institutes.
During 2000 the Implementation Team of Yale faculty members and New Haven Teachers again assisted with planning, carrying out, and assessing the site visits to the four new Institutes. As in earlier years the Implementation Team discussed a Protocol that was established to guide the members of the site visit teams. (For members of the Implementation Team, see Appendix.) Supplementary Protocols were also designed to highlight the issues specific to each site that had emerged in the course of monitoring by Institute staff and members of the Implementation Team. Because the visits this year focused primarily, though not exclusively, on the seminars and curriculum units, the site visits were conducted for the most part by university faculty members and school teachers. A visit to Houston on May 2-3 was made by Thomas Whitaker and Sandra Ferdman-Comas (Yale faculty members), Annette R. Streets (Assistant Director, Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute), and Mary Jones (New Haven teacher). A visit to Irvine-Santa Ana on May 8-9 was made by Thomas Whitaker and Rogers Smith (Yale faculty members), and Lisa Galullo and Jean Sutherland (New Haven teachers). A visit to Pittsburgh on May 22-24 was made by Thomas Whitaker and Sabatino Sofia (Yale faculty members), Steven Broker (New Haven teacher), and Carolyn Kinder (New Haven assistant principal). And a visit to Albuquerque on June 22-23 was made by Thomas Whitaker and Jules Prown (Yale faculty members), and Donna Frederick-Neznek and Peter Herndon (New Haven teachers).
|The Common Work of the Five Teachers Institutes
The Directors' Meeting: A Directors' Meeting of the five sites was held on April 29, 2000, in New York City. Its agenda had been shaped through e-mail communication among the five Directors. After a sharing of notable accomplishments since the inception of the National Demonstration Project in January 1999, there was a general discussion of topics of interest to the Directors.
The group agreed on a planning process for the Second Annual Conference, to be held in New Haven on October 13-14. A planning committee chaired by Mel Sánchez of Santa Ana High School, consisting of a teacher and a faculty member from each Institute and a Director-at-large, would propose topics and invite presentations and, with the help of the National Steering Committee and the University Advisory Committee, establish the program.
The group also discussed ways in which the five Institutes might wish to work together after the conclusion of the Wallace Funds' grant. Annette Streets, Assistant Director of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, spoke of the Centers for Curriculum and Professional Development in New Haven schools as an example of one way of extending the influence of a Teachers Institute and recruiting new Fellows. Because of our desire that the new Institutes should "begin small," we had not included this element of our work in the National Demonstration Project. We are now suggesting to the Institutes, however, that it may be a useful way for them to have a greater systemic impact. During 2000, the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute and the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute would show special interest in experimenting with some form of such Centers in their own cities.
There was also strong testimony to the importance of having an enthusiastic Representative in a school, in order to contribute to successful recruiting. The Director from Pittsburgh urged the importance of keeping the Institutes "unique" in their emphasis upon the collegiality of school teachers and university and college faculty members. No disagreement was expressed with regard to the Basic Principles to which the National Demonstration Project has been committed, although there were some suggested departures from the Yale-New Haven practice, including the "Talks" and the faculty members' compensation. Directors from Pittsburgh and Irvine-Santa Ana spoke of the teachers' desire that their Institutes become more closely related to the districts' programs of professional development. A Co-Director from Albuquerque asserted that "we have become different examples of things that work well." The Director from Houston spoke of the need for each Institute to have a Director who could proceed energetically with the task of fund-raising. Such a person, he said, "is our most precious commodity." Several Directors expressed concern that scaling up in their cities might alter the nature of the personal relations within an Institute. But all agreed that after the conclusion of the present Grant, there should be some continuing association or consortium of Institutes.
Directors from all the demonstration sites were emphatic in their praise of the National Seminars in New Haven (or, potentially, elsewhere) as a means of bringing into the Institutes a new group of people in subsequent years and of continued sharing and cross-fertilization among the sites. There was also discussion of the need for links among continually updated electronic databases at all of the Institutes, with a search engine that would be applicable to all sites. There is already evidence of sites learning from each other: the idea of an Open House at Houston, for example, which had been picked up from the New Haven program, has now been adopted elsewhere. As one Director put it, "We need a continuing conversation, and a national presence, to influence policy and to provide us with an energizing experience."
No disagreement was expressed with regard to the Basic Principles to which the National Demonstration Project has been committed.
All agreed that after the conclusion of the present Grant, there should be some continuing association or consortium of Institutes.
The Faculty Forum: In May 1999, as a result of discussions in the National University Advisory Council, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute had established a moderated electronic forum for the exchange of views and information by college and university faculty members involved in the National Demonstration Project. This has been an attempt to encourage and facilitate the "acculturation" of university faculty members within the Teachers Institute approach. Because a Teachers Institute is meant to serve the school teachers, they have understandably found it easier than university faculty members to discern its importance for their lives and careers. We have been able to devise ways in which school teachers at the demonstration sites could participate in National Seminars and engage in the writing of curriculum units, so that they could swiftly understand the Institute process from the inside. And there has often been substantial continuity of participating teachers from year to year. The participation of faculty members in the July Intensives has been less complete and less sustained, and Directors have sometimes not been prepared to advise and consult with newly appointed as seminar leaders. We have therefore been searching for ways to provide continuing involvement and information to university faculty members, so that they can become over the longer-term enthusiastic and successful contributors to the program.
The Teachers Institute Faculty Forum (TIFF), which may be addressed at firstname.lastname@example.org, is moderated by Professor Jules D. Prown of Yale University. Because very little traffic had developed, TIFF became a topic for faculty discussion during the July Intensive Session and the First Annual Conference. At a meeting in December 1999 a diverse group of past Institute seminar leaders in New Haven discussed what would be, in the light of their practical experience, the most useful issues to be posted electronically in the hope of stimulating further discussion on TIFF. They 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. The list would 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. Despite such efforts, in 2000 there continued to be little traffic on this Forum.
As we think about plans for a second phase of Institute development, we continue to seek other means to bring university faculty members into the culture of the Teachers Institute. We do not believe that the demonstration sites should not carry the entire burden of working faculty members into the Institute's approach, and we hope to find yet better ways of continuing communication with those participants in the new Institutes.
The Second Annual Conference: The Second Annual Conference was held in New Haven on October 13-14. Each site had been encouraged to send three current or future seminar leaders, seven current Fellows, and its Director to this meeting. Selected members of the Implementation Team for the National Demonstration Project comprised the Yale-New Haven team for the Conference. The planning committee had planned the program after extensive e-mail consultation with those in New Haven and at the demonstration sites. This process was not entirely satisfactory, because the sequential process meant that later suggestions received more emphasis than earlier ones. There was general approval of the program that had been developed, but, as will be described later, it was decided to use a different mode of planning for the Third Annual Conference.
After opening remarks by Mel E. Sánchez, Chair of the Conference Planning Committee, representatives from each of the five Institutes reported on their work during the past year. James R. Vivian then introduced Olivia Dixon, Program Assistant from the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds, who was attending as a representative of the Program Director, Mary Lee Fitzgerald. Ian Beckford, Evaluation Officer for the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds, then introduced his assistant, Marie Connolly. Beckford re-affirmed the purpose of the external evaluation by Policy Studies Associates "to generate lessons that will be relevant to policy makers and practitioners in the field," and he congratulated the demonstration sites on what they had thus far accomplished. "We're very confident," he said, "that the information we are going to be generating through the evaluation will be information that will allow us to be able to talk about the great work that you're doing so that other people are going to be excited about it, and equally importantly people that you want to work with to move your work forward will be excited about this." The Funds see it, he added, "as information that's going to be able to leverage the work and take it to another level in years to come."
James R. Vivian then offered an overview of the Conference. He noted that almost two thirds of all Institute representatives in attendance were school teachers, and that more than half of those from a demonstration site were participating in their first Institute meeting in New Haven. "Following the Institute approach," he said, "this meeting was planned by the individuals who would take part." He thanked the members of the Conference Planning Committee for the detailed plans they had made, and thanked also the seventy volunteers who offered to be one of the twenty-seven leaders or presenters needed for the program the Committee designed.
"We're very confident that the information we are going to be generating through the evaluation...will allow us to be able to talk about the great work that you're doing so that other people are going to be excited about it....information that's going to be able to leverage the work and take it to another level in years to come."
After a break for examining displays from all five Institutes, the participants were divided into three Roundtable Discussions on Seminar Experiences, each led by a seminar leader and a Fellow from different sites. In the discussion led by James Davidson of Carnegie Mellon and Mary Ann Natunewicz from the Houston Independent School District, for example, the opening remarks emphasized the desirability of a firm structure in the seminars, the value of collegiality, and the various relations that may obtain between the common reading and the curriculum units. These remarks led to comments on the need to assist seminar leaders in understanding how to provide structure in a seminar that responds to a range of needs expressed by the Fellows. One Fellow spoke of difficulties in reading and writing that resulted from a compressed schedule at his site. A seminar leader noted that it was necessary for the Fellows in a seminar to learn about each other's topics very early in the sequence. Several Fellows spoke of the increasing concern with state standards, and the need to correlate curriculum units with them. A Director of Curriculum and Staff Development warned against thinking that the mandated standards and individual creativity were incompatible. "What this project can do," she said, "is teach how to be inquisitive and creative in shaping curriculum and responding to it. Those are very much the qualities that the standards should be requiring of students."
A Director of Curriculum and Staff Development warned against thinking that the mandated standards and individual creativity were incompatible.
In this group there was also appreciation expressed for the presence of elementary teachers as Fellows. A high school teacher noted that "the role of the elementary teacher is fundamentally the same as that of a teacher in middle school or high school." A kindergarten teacher spoke warmly of the ability of her students, as they worked with the unit, to team with older children from first through fourth grade. There was further discussion of the process of learning in a seminar. A seminar leader urged Fellows to be aggressive in making use of the seminar leader. A Fellow noted that "our process of learning in the seminar tells us about how people learn—and we can transfer that to our classes." When asked how the seminars might work yet better, the participants mentioned several topics: the need for more assistance to Fellows in writing a curriculum unit; the difficulty of writing units if the seminar had already concluded; the advantage of trying out units in class while they are being prepared; and the usefulness of adding to the curriculum units, when published on-line, some "footnotes" on how the unit worked in the classroom.
Each of the participants then had an opportunity to attend two of the eight concurrent (and then repeated) Roundtable Discussions on the following topics: "Preparing a Seminar Syllabus," "Helping Teachers Write their Units," "Serving as a Seminar Coordinator," "Recruiting Your Fellow Teachers," "Creating Incentives for Faculty Participation," "Scheduling Seminars and Unit Writing," "Setting Up Institute Centers in Schools," and "Publicizing Institutes and Disseminating Curriculum Units."
In one, a discussion on "Creating Incentives for Faculty Participation," led by Michael Field of the University of Houston, the question arose of the designated pool of Fellows. One faculty member suggested that their Institute might best focus upon only those teachers who are best prepared and most ready to take on difficult challenges. Another responded that the National Demonstration Project, like the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, operates on the assumption that all teachers, regardless of their previous training or preparation, should be assisted to improve their understanding of the content areas in which they must teach. We should remember, he said, that these teachers will remain in the classroom regardless of what an Institute may or may not do for them, and that it is our responsibility to do what we can to assist the entire body of teachers in the district. This means that, in leading seminars, faculty members should devise means of adapting their approaches to the content area to make them sufficiently accessible to teachers of varying preparation and ability.
A discussion on "Scheduling Seminars and Unit Writing," led by Stephen D. Franklin of the University of California at Irvine, mainly dealt with issues having to do with fielding seminars that responded to teachers' expressed needs. At some sites there were still difficulties in polling teachers about their needs, and in adjusting proposed topics to those needs prior to the application process. It was suggested that these difficulties could only be solved by yet greater activity by Teacher Representatives at the early stages of planning, so they might go back and forth repeatedly between their schools and the Representatives meeting in the course of refining and approving the seminar topics. There was then extended discussion of problems in scheduling the planning and the offering of seminars, which differ from site to site. Two Teachers Institutes, UCI-Santa Ana and Albuquerque, which had begun with somewhat compressed schedules, were beginning to see a need to expand them over a longer period of time. Several had experienced some difficulty in arousing Fellows' interest in talks given for the entire group, and were inclined to reduce or eliminate that optional aspect of the program. A discussion on "Preparing a Seminar Syllabus," led by Thelma W. Foote of the University of California at Irvine, provided an opportunity for several faculty members to explain how they organized their seminars. These explanations led to extended discussion of the difficulties in organizing seminars in the sciences; and faculty members shared ideas on ways in which those difficulties could be met.
Break-out sessions followed, each led by a Fellow, on "Writing and Teaching Curriculum Units in Different Subject Areas." The areas covered were "Science, Mathematics, and Technology," "Languages and Literature," "History and Social Studies," "Fine and Performing Arts," and "Special Educational Programs." In the session on "Science, Mathematics, and Technology," led by Stephen P. Broker of the New Haven Public Schools, the question of teachers' preparation to write units on the topics selected arose in a somewhat different context. Again it was emphasized that even topics in science may be approached at different levels, and in a variety of interdisciplinary contexts, and that seminar leaders needed to remain open and flexible in response to these opportunities. In the session on "Fine and Performing Arts," led by Marilyn Frenz, a Santa Ana librarian, there was discussion of the variety of curriculum units prepared with library assistance. But then the participants turned to the problem of establishing seminars in the arts and recruiting Fellows for them. It was observed that the arts are relevant to a variety of subjects, and that they are increasingly part of an interdisciplinary focus. A seminar in an artistic field might therefore be of value to Fellows assigned to other academic subjects or to interdisciplinary work. It was suggested that the Teacher Representatives keep such possibilities in mind as they poll teachers at their schools and work toward a set of seminar offerings.
A Plenary Session, chaired by Doug Earick, Director of the Albuquerque Teachers Institute, was devoted to "Demonstrating Effectiveness: Issues and Opportunities." Paul Cooke, Director of the Houston Teachers Institute, spoke of the importance for some funders of assessment results, and of his experience in securing both significant funding and fresh interest at local schools. James Davidson, faculty member at Carnegie Mellon, spoke of the advantages of an Institute for university participants, as an encouragement to break down the narrow departmental and vocational specialization and to think more about pedagogy. Renée Tolliver, a Pittsburgh teacher, told how curriculum units there are closely related to standards and assessment, how students have become involved in critiquing each other, and how, in a system that increasingly uses portfolio assessment, a student's work on a unit may be expanded toward a graduation project. Mel Sánchez, a Santa Ana teacher, spoke of the increase in self-esteem that he and other colleagues had experienced in the collegial milieu of an Institute seminar, and of his students' gain in intellectual confidence and in the ability to make connections. Verdell Roberts, Associate Superintendent of the New Haven Public Schools, took as her theme the traits of a "good school." She stressed the necessary qualities of professional relations—cooperation, mutual concern for information and creativity, and continuing growth. She quoted Roland Barth: "If students are to grow and learn, everybody in the building must grow and learn." And she developed specifically the ways in which the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute had helped teachers to grow and to become leaders in their schools and in the district. Of the top schools in Connecticut, she said, five are in New Haven, and four are led by former Fellows in the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. In a time when "we are being plagued as never before by those who are outside the classroom telling us what to do," she said, Teachers Institutes have a special importance in providing internal leadership for the schools.
A Pittsburgh teacher told how curriculum units there are closely related to standards and assessment, and how, in a system that increasingly uses portfolio assessment, a student's work on a unit may be expanded toward a graduation project.
The discussion then focused on the need for various kinds of empirical assessment of the impact of a Teachers Institute. A Yale faculty member suggested that, although quantitative studies of all kinds are quite vulnerable, because one cannot control all the variables, we should compile as much information as we can on how students are meeting state standards, how teachers and students are gaining recognition, and how teachers are developing leadership. Even if we do not have firm evidence of fully quantifiable student outcomes, we can show the correlation of such results in place after place over time. A Director at a demonstration site pointed to the Annual Reports of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, and such other Institute publications as A Progress Report on Surveys Administered to New Haven Teachers, 1982-1990 and Teaching in America: The Common Ground, as containing examples of the kinds of evidence that would demonstrate effectiveness. Others noted the importance of retention of high-quality personnel, accumulated anecdotal evidence, and attitudinal feedback. A Yale faculty member emphasized that qualitative evidence can indeed be systematically gathered and assessed by leaders in the field, as is demonstrated every time we make personnel decisions. A school administrator urged that professional development, as well as test scores, be used as an indicator of school success.
After team meetings, a Closing Plenary Session offered an opportunity for summary reports from each Institute. That from the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute emphasized the need to explore modes of evaluation and to emphasize the ways in which seminar leaders can model the building of a learning community. It also stressed the need for greater collaboration with the school district, the desire to broaden the interface between the University of California at Irvine and Santa Ana, and the hope to maintain the present Institute structure, but with some flexibility, under the control of the teachers. The report from the Albuquerque Teachers Institute paid tribute to the invigorating nature of the Conference, and to its reinforcement of the multiple goals of the National Demonstration. It noted, however, a serious situation with regard to funding in Albuquerque, the need for better communication between Fellows and the administration of the Albuquerque Public Schools, and the need to provide more support to Fellows and seminar leaders in the writing of curriculum units. It also noted, in both the Conference sessions and the seminars, a tension between the collegial nature of the project and the benefits of a more structured approach. And it expressed hope that this Institute might explore the idea of enrolling teams of Fellows, as in New Haven, in order to weave curriculum units more coherently into the school plans.
The report from the Houston Teachers Institute listed matters on which it plans to work: the inclusion of elementary teachers, the placing of all curriculum units on a CD ROM, the improved loading of the web site, and better contacts with donors. It also noted some disagreements within the team about the relevance of linking curriculum units to mandated standards. The report from the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute expressed a desire to explore further the scheduling of seminars, the role of the seminar coordinators in relation to standards, the use of curriculum resource centers, the monthly featuring of a curriculum unit, the establishing of links to other web sites, and the use of reports from Fellows on how curriculum units worked in the classroom. And the report from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute noted a desire to explore how standards may be more systematically incorporated in the curriculum units, to improve the assistance offered to Fellows in the writing of those units, and to disseminate information about the units and showcase students' work.
The Second Annual Conference showed that the four new Institutes are prepared to collaborate in many ways, through formal and informal meetings and other communications. They welcomed the fact that the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute now assumed a position of equality with the others in the planning and carrying out of the Conference. All participants looked forward to a Third Annual Conference in 2001.
Responses from team-members to the questionnaire distributed by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute were more uniformly positive than those after the First Annual Conference, and several shared the view that "this conference was stronger than last." One Director said:
Another Director said:
This Director later said: "We have been impressed by the Yale team's increasing openness and willingness to be one of five sites, rather than the one main site circled by four satellites."
A third Director said: "I found the Conference to be both entertaining and profitable this year. Directors did manage to exchange ideas even without meeting exclusively among ourselves." This Director found Jean Sutherland's account of the Yale-New Haven annual process to be especially helpful. And a fourth Director, who found the conference "very worthwhile and enjoyable," said: "I think we are getting better and better at the planning of the thing. Maybe by next year we'll get it just right."
A school teacher said:
This teacher added that most of the break-out sessions "could have benefited from a bit more structure and focus." They "were really an intellectual free-for-all with some inspired commentary, but they tended to drift off the topic."
Another teacher, however, found the breakout sessions "useful," the plenary sessions "well-chosen," and the speakers "excellent." And yet another said: "I thoroughly enjoyed the break-out sessions format. It allowed for stimulating discussions. I particularly enjoyed 'Setting Up Institute Centers in Schools.' These centers are extremely necessary for Teachers Institute promotion as well as serving to afford help to individual teachers when writing their curriculum units." Yet another teacher said, "Some excellent ideas surfaced in the discipline session on fine and performing arts."
"The Conference was inspiring and instructive. Our teachers...learned more about the tasks of being a Coordinator, Teacher Representative, and seminar Fellow. The faculty got clarification on the multiple goals and special nature of the seminars."
"Teachers have so much to give to each other, and the Institute uses this concept well."
Several teachers were grateful for the informal conversations with people from other sites. One said:
This Conference did focus on sharing information with the other demonstration sites so that we could all grow, in our own unique fashion, together. As a result of the tone and temper of the sessions an openness and interest in each of the demonstration sites became a true concern to all of us, with efforts directed at problem solving and supporting the efforts at each site.
Another said: "As a team we became more solidified and at one with the interests of the parent group at Yale-New Haven. I expect we will be implementing a number of the new ideas we have gained here." And another said: "Each site has its own style, but I noticed a unified sense of purpose that permeated each group and the Conference as a whole."
One university faculty member found the "mix of participants" to be "good." "Overall," he concluded, "this is the best conference of this group I've attended. It reflects maturing of experience at all sites and speaks well for future inter-institutional cooperation." Another university faculty member said: "One of the main factors contributing to the success of the conference was the quality of the participants. Nearly every one was an excellent speaker. All were well prepared. And they all displayed an infectious enthusiasm." This faculty member also said that the two break-out sessions on curriculum units "were extremely helpful to me in understanding what I need to be doing when I assume responsibility for a seminar next spring." Another faculty member, who found here a "useful pooling of experience and ideas," would have wished "more discussion on the dissatisfactions expressed in muted fashion with the idea of strong teacher leadership; Also more on how the sites can work productively together from here on out."
More suggestions this year than last were offered for the next Annual Conference. A university faculty member urged that it would be good to have "senior school district administrators present, on a panel, saying what they like about the Institutes and what improvements might be made." Several teachers suggested there might be two "tracks," one for first-time attendees and one for those already experienced in the workings of an Institute. Several teachers suggested that the issue of "assessment" should be more fully discussed. Several would like more whole-group discussions. One teacher urged that each Teachers Institute actively recruit a school librarian to participate in the Conference. One urged that there should be more discussion of Institute Centers, on gaining the support of a principal, and on the role of the seminar Coordinator. And a Director suggested that there be "serious discussions about the future of the Institutes that have been established at the four demonstration sites." Several of the participants urged that there be an early face-to-face meeting by the committee that will plan the Third Annual Conference; and this in fact will take place in the spring of 2001.
There were also ideas for other kinds of future activity. One teacher suggested that if a site tries a mentoring project or changes the way in which teachers are helped with the curriculum units, this might be put on an e-mail list to the Directors of the other sites. Another came away "with the idea that our Institute needs to do more to publicize itself to our school principals and school administrations." This teacher intended to write to her own principal and send a copy to her superintendent. "I want them to know what a valuable experience I had at Yale, and what a joy it is to be a member of our own Institute."
During the Conference, both the National Steering Committee and the National University Advisory Council held meetings. (For membership in these groups, see Appendix.) The Steering Committee decided to meet with the University Advisory Council during April 2001 to discuss the planning for the Third Annual Conference in the following October. It decided also that it should then discuss the survey of curriculum units to be undertaken by the new Teachers Institutes before their Final Reports, the results of the Fellows' questionnaires administered in 1999 and 2000, and ways in which these Teachers Institutes might assist in disseminating the National Project. The National University Advisory Council decided that it would encourage and assist with the establishment of local University Advisory Councils. It believes that such local Councils can serve to advise the directors, promote the Institutes among their faculties and administrations, and assist in fundraising. The National University Council also decided that it would be advantageous for all of the Councils to be able to work together as a group. After the Conference James Vivian suggested to the Directors that these two national committees, in a face-to-face meeting, plan the Third Annual conference. Helen Faison, who had earlier been unable to accede to the Directors' request to be the Director-at-large on the planning committee for the Second Annual Conference, has agreed to serve in that capacity with these two committees next year.
The Implementation Team for the National Demonstration Project also met after the Conference to assess its results. The Team thought the Conference to be more substantive in its presentations than the First Annual Conference and more indicative of growth and maturing at the demonstration sites. It noted that these sites were discovering through their own work the necessity for some procedures upon which we had earlier insisted without complete success. It agreed that a major area of concern was the issue of standards and assessments. All sites seem prepared to include reference to state and district standards in the curriculum units. They regard assessment of student work as a matter of educational and political urgency, perhaps crucial to the long-term viability of a new Institute; though there is disagreement about the most significant and appropriate measures of assessment. The Implementation Team also noted that there was still some evidence at certain sites of inadequate communication with the university, the school district, or school teachers; and some problems resulting from condensed scheduling of seminars and inadequate attention to the writing process.
The Implementation Team also noted some of the ways in which the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has been gaining from the National Demonstration. There is a heightened awareness of the need to explain our own procedures and to reflect more fully on our operations. And there is a recognition that we need to get our own story out more fully in various ways-through fuller use of hand-outs, CD-ROMs, and student work; through greater contributions to school profiles, and through the work of the Centers for Curriculum and Professional Development.
All sites seem prepared to include reference to state and district standards in the curriculum units. They regard assessment of student work as a matter of educational and political urgency, perhaps crucial to the long-term viability of a new Institute; though there is disagreement about the most significant and appropriate measures of assessment.
|The Work of the Four New Teachers Institutes
Throughout this year, as last 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 monitoring and advising on budgetary and organizational matters. Director Vivian has been responsive to many questions and difficulties of a more wide-ranging character. Contacts have continued between teachers and faculty members on the Implementation Team with their counterparts at various sites. Site visits have provided first-hand information from university and school administrators as well as teachers and faculty members. And the annual narrative and financial reports of the four new Institutes have set forth their challenges and accomplishments during this second year of implementing the National Demonstration Project. In its third Annual Report to what is now the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has described its monitoring and technical assistance in considerable detail. Here we offer a condensed account of the continuing experiences of the new Institutes.
Pittsburgh Teachers Institute: This Institute, bringing the resources of Chatham College and Carnegie Mellon University to a selected portion of a school district that now has 97 schools serving 39,000 students, has been working with 20 elementary, middle, and high schools, representing the three regions of the district. The Director, Helen Faison, an experienced teacher and school administrator and former chair of the Education Department at Chatham College, had been relieved of her duties from July 1999 until June 2000 in order to assume the position of interim-Superintendent of Schools in Pittsburgh. During that period John Groch, Assistant Professor of Communications at Chatham College, served as Acting Director. Helen Faison, who stayed in close touch with Institute matters, has now returned to the directorship.
In 2000, the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute offered six seminars for 48 teachers (with 38 published curriculum units): "Pittsburgh Writers" (James Davidson, Adjunct Professor of English, Carnegie Mellon University); "Interdisciplinary Views of Pittsburgh History" (Steffi Domike, Visiting Professor of Art, Chatham College); "Learning Physics through Science Fiction" (Richard Holman, Professor of Physics, Carnegie Mellon University); "American History through Art" (Elisabeth Roark, Assistant Professor of Art, Chatham College); "Proof in Mathematics: Origin, Practice, Crisis" (Juan Jorge Schäffer, Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University); and "Religion in American Society" (Janet Stocks, Director of Undergraduate Research and Associate Provost of Academic Affairs, Carnegie Mellon University).
Presidents Cohon of Carnegie Mellon and Barazzone of Chatham have said that they would appoint a University Advisory Council consisting of faculty members from both institutions (who would be able to meet both separately and jointly). There continues to be a vigorous core of teacher-leaders. School Representatives and seminar Coordinators have been actively concerned to ensure that both seminars and curriculum units are explicitly correlated with the "62 Pittsburgh Content Standards" promulgated by the Pittsburgh Public Schools. This Institute is also exploring how its offerings may visibly contribute to the district's curricular priorities.
It provides the Fellows, for example, with a document that states how as they prepare the second draft of their curriculum units, they should begin thinking about the relationship between the unit and national, state, and local standards that all Pittsburgh Public School curricula must meet. "This is especially important," the Fellows are told, "because the granting of increment credit to teachers based on their participation in PTI is predicated on the assumption that curriculum units developed under the auspices of PTI will address such standards…. You will find, we think, that these standards are broad enough so that any unit you might develop this year should be able to address some of them."
Fellows are asked to document the addressing of standards in one or more specific ways. In developing this approach the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute may be of assistance to other Institutes as they define their relations to standards.
This Institute has become an approved provider of in-service courses for the district, and several schools also plan to establish Centers modeled to some degree after those in New Haven, even though there are no funds included in the budget to establish them. Over half of the Fellows intend to participate again in one or more future years, and over a third may also do so.
Although one of the seven seminars planned for 2000 was withdrawn because of insufficient enrollment, the Institute is confident enough in the demand from teachers that it is advertising eight seminars for 2001. These are: "Media Revolutions" (James Davidson, Adjunct Professor of English, Carnegie Mellon University); "Ptttsburgh's Environmental History" (Steffi Domike, Visiting Professor of Art, Chatham College); "Contemporary Latin America: Culture and Civilization" (Karen S. Goldman, Associate Professor of Spanish, Chatham College); "Kitchen Chemistry" (John Hagen, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Chatham College); "The Math Connection" (Richard Holman, Professor of Physics, Carnegie Mellon); "The Twenties (The Lost Generation)" (Alan Kennedy, Professor of English, Carnegie Mellon University); "Euler's Formula: Space Geometry and Graphs" (Juan Jorge Schäffer, Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University); and "Diversity and Resistance" (Janet Stocks, Director of Undergraduate Research and Adjunct Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University).
The experience in Pittsburgh (and at other sites) suggests that the initial limitation of a site's scope in the National Demonstration Project to about 20 schools has created an unnecessary obstacle to recruitment. James Vivian is therefore encouraging Helen Faison and the other Directors, as they go forward in planning for the years after 2001, to widen their scope in appropriate ways—that is, by including appropriate types of schools within the partner district, in harmony with the demographics and the aims specified by the Grant. It will be important for the new Teachers Institutes to remain eligible for any further grants that may be made available during the next phase of the national initiative, for that initiative will be proceeding in accord with the Basic Principles already established in the Grant from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. It may also be advantageous to the long-term effort if currently non-participating schools are kept on as explicit members of the group. < /P>
Significant progress has continued in Pittsburgh despite an unusual number of administrative changes at the sponsoring institutions, including a new Vice President for Academic Affairs at Chatham College and a new Superintendent of Schools. The Chief of Staff to the Superintendent of Schools, who is the former Director of Development for the School District, continues to direct the external fundraising. He has directed his staff to search for national foundation and governmental funding that may be available to support the Institute after 2001. And the collaborative relationship among the sponsoring institutions is moving forward, through a joint Carnegie Mellon-Chatham College proposal to the National Science Foundation and a School District proposal to establish a digital school district, in ways that may be of benefit to the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute.
The financial situation appears promising indeed, even though the Pittsburgh Public Schools are experiencing financial difficulties that may result in the closing of a number of schools in 2001 and a sizeable tax increase. A foundation officer has offered to convene a meeting of her colleagues to discuss the funding of the Institute as soon as the 2001 seminars are underway. Funds have already been awarded by the Grable Foundation ($140,000 over three years), the Hillman Foundation ($60,000 over two years), and the Henry C. Frick Educational Fund of the Buhl Foundation ($60,000 for 2000). Further funds have been requested of the Alcoa Foundation, the Frick Fund of the Buhl Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Foundation.
Administrative officers from Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham College have informally discussed the broadening of the partnership to include other institutions of higher education in the city. The Pittsburgh Teachers Institute looks forward to establishing itself as a long-term endeavor. As the annual Narrative Report states:
Houston Teachers Institute: This Teachers Institute brings the resources of the University of Houston to the Houston Independent School District, where 280 schools serve 212,000 students. It has been working 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. It now is expanding its scope to include five elementary schools close to the University of Houston and to a range of other schools in the district, for a total of about thirty schools. These schools have the same demographic characteristics as those in the initial target scope. First opportunity for enrollment will be given to the teachers from the 20 schools that were originally targeted, before turning to applicants from other schools. Paul Cooke, who had been a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston, is the Director of this Institute.
In 2000 the Houston Teachers Institute offered six seminars for 40 teachers (33 of whom completed curriculum units): "Adolescence and Alienation," (William Monroe, Associate Professor of English); "Global Warming and Air Pollution" (James Lawrence, Associate Professor of Geoscience); "Issues in Creativity" (David Jacobs, Professor of Art); "Critical Analysis of Graeco-Roman Myths and Related Contemporary Issues" (Dora Pozzi, Professor of Modern and Classical Languages); "Jazz History: The Art and Its Social Roots" (Noe Marmolejo, Associate Professor of Music); and "Immigration and Latinos in U.S. Society" (Nestor Rodriguez, Associate Professor of Sociology.)"
Although this Institute has continued to deal with some difficult problems of finances and enrollment in its second year, more than half of those completing the seminars in 2000 indicated that they intend to participate in one or more future years; and an additional 30 percent indicated that they might do so. With the expansion of scope for recruitment, the Director estimates that there may be 65 applications from the participating schools, another ten from the elementary schools approached, and another fifteen from HISD's " annual "Excellence in the Schools" conference, where the Institute rented a booth. The five seminars now planned for 2001 include: "Shakespeare Alive!" (Sidney Berger, Professor and Director, University of Houston School of Theatre); "Multicultural Works: The Richness of the Drama of American" (Elizabeth Brown-Guillory, Professor of English and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences); "Figuring the Odds: Learning to Live with Life's Uncertainty" (Michael Field, Professor of Mathematics); "Film and American Values over the Decades" (Cynthia Freeland, Professor of Philosophy); and "World Order: What Current Events Tell Us About World Politics" (Joseph Nogee, Professor Emeritus of Political Science). A sixth seminar, "Science, Witchcraft, and Politics," to be led by Ross Lence, Professor of Political Science, has been cancelled because of his unexpected medical leave, and the teachers have been distributed among the other seminars.
The Institute continues to rely upon a vigorous group of Teacher Representatives, who meet regularly to carry forward its work. They plan additional recruiting in schools that have not yet been reached, and have paid close attention to the Fellows' responses to the Questionnaire for 1999 in planning this year's program. The Director has arranged for Teacher Representatives to receive professional development credit for their involvement in the Institute. Ted Estess, Dean of the Honors College, and Sam Lasseter, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, as well as a core of committed faculty members are offering assistance. Vigorous and self-critical, the Houston Teachers Institute is well supported by faculty members and the school district, and it illustrates the advantages of continuity on all levels.
While acknowledging the difficulties experienced by some of the Fellows in writing curriculum units, Paul Cooke has written eloquently of the complex place of these units within the larger goals of a Teachers Institute:
In discussing the future of this Teachers Institute, he has said:
Director Cooke has been ardently pursuing possibilities for funding in future years and has drafted a proposal to continue support of the Institute for a second three-year term, from 2002 to 2004. He is thinking about the implications, in the near term, of expanding the scope of the Institute from 30 schools to 40 or 50. Important gifts from the Houston Endowment ($150,000 over three years), the Powell Foundation ($30,000 over the next three years), and the McNair Foundation ($5,000), as well as continuing support from the school district, have helped to ease the financial situation. There is also an application to the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (for up to $150,000) to which the Foundations will respond in the summer of 2001.
The Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, Roderick R. Paige, is assuming in 2001 the position of United States Secretary of Education. Susan Sclafani, Chief of Staff for Academic Operations at the district, who has been a strong supporter of the Institute, will accompany him to Washington. Before they left, the Houston Independent School District was committed to continue the same level of support of $50,000 a year for the next three years after the Implementation Grant has expired. It also exploring ways to increase funding through the professional development budgets allocated to each school. As a further sign of institutional collaboration, the University of Houston has extended a comparable commitment for the same period after the expiration of the current Grant.
Albuquerque Teachers Institute: This Institute, bringing the resources of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of New Mexico to a district that serves 85,800 students in 121 schools and enrolls a high percentage of Hispanic students from low-income families, had targeted 21 middle and high schools where the problem of a high attrition rate is most serious. Two new schools were added this year to the service population: Sandia High School and the Career Enrichment Center. In 2000, the Albuquerque Teachers Institute offered six seminars for 51 teachers (49 of whom completed a curriculum unit): "Atomic America: Technology, Representation, and Culture in the 20th Century" (Timothy Moy, Assistant Professor of History); "Human Decision-Making: Rational and Irrational" (Kate Krause, Assistant Professor of Economics); "The Indo-Hispano Cultural Legacy of New Mexico" (Enrique Lamadrid, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese); "Weighing Environmental Risks: Uncertainties and Variables" (David S. Gutzler, Associate Professor of Climatology, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences); "The United States of America: The Ideal and the Reality" (Fred Harris, Professor of Political Science); and "Literature and the Environment" (Gary Harrison, Associate Professor of English).
The directorship at this Institute has undergone a series of changes. Planning Director, Laura Cameron, who had attended the sessions in New Haven designed to prepare directors, at first served as Co-Director with Wanda Martin. Both are on the University of New Mexico faculty. From mid-1999 to mid-2000, Wanda Martin was joined as Co-Director by Doug Earick, a science teacher in the Albuquerque Public Schools. As of July 2000, Martin was given a position as Associate Dean of the Liberal Arts College, and Earick, with the approval of James Vivian, was appointed Director. At the same time, Michael Fischer, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, who has been a key supporter of the Institute, departed for another university.
The Institute continues to experiment with schedules that may meet the desires of the teachers and also provide adequate opportunity for reading and writing within the seminar period. Because of complaints that the compressed schedule makes it difficult to do the seminar reading and write a substantial curriculum unit, and also makes it difficult for Fellows to share their writing-in-progress, the seminars for 2000 were extended from three to four weeks. The Institute will offer one seminar in 2001 that will begin in March and will finish in May. If this seminar does well, more seminars may be offered in the future with a similar schedule. During 2000 a workshop on writing the curriculum unit was very beneficial but may have led to the withdrawal of some teachers. Because of the substantial attrition in 2000 between the admission of Fellows to the beginning of the seminars, it is a goal for 2001 to make sure teachers understand the time and work commitment in advance of application.
Despite these problems, the Albuquerque Teachers Institute plans eight seminars for 2001. They include: "Gods, Heroes, Myths: The Legacy of Ancient Greece" (Monica S. Cyrino, Associate Professor of Classics and Chairperson, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures); "When the Good Go Bad: Why Juveniles Become Delinquent" (Paul Steele, Associate Professor of Sociology); "Braque to Bach to Bohr: Physics and the Arts" (Colston Chandler, Professor of Physics and Astronomy); "Math and Reality-An Investigative Approach" (Adrianna Aceves, Lecturer in Mathematics and Statistics, and Cathy Gosler, Lecturer in Mathematics and Statistics); "Spirit of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo: Culture, Environment and Bioregionalism" (Enrique Lamadrid, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese); "The South Valley, the Environment and Future Development" (Teresa Cordova, Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Planning); "Media Literacy: An Examination of the Effects of the Media on Youth" (Michael McDevitt, Assistant Professor of Communication and Journalism, and Bob Gassaway, Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism); and "Science, Technology, and Society: Forces of Change" (Timothy Moy, Associate Professor of History).
Although during 2000 there were some uncertainties with regard to long-term funding, both the University of New Mexico and the Albuquerque Public Schools have reaffirmed their intention to support the Institute after the expiration of the Implementation Grant. The school district is decentralizing its support for professional development, redirecting the funds to individual schools and clusters of schools. It intends help the Institute within this new system. Superintendent Bradford Allison anticipates, however, that with the appointment of a new Director of Professional Development there will be a "closer and stronger tie between ATI and the district's overall teacher training model." He states that the district "would like to expand participation in the ATI and focus the seminars on district priorities."
The University's special legislative request in 1999 and 2000, which if granted would have divided funds requested from the state for professional development between the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences, will not be renewed for 2001. President William Gordon, however, has stated that the University will continue to provide financial support for a number of years, and he is seeking additional funds for that purpose. The University will contribute $75,000 to the support of the Institute during 2001.
The William Randolph Hearst Foundation had previously awarded the Institute a grant of $42,500. A grant was received from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation of $150,000 for the period from June 2000 through December 2002. The Director will also be seeking support from the Principals' Discretionary Fund, the Albuquerque Foundation, and local businesses.
As at other Institutes, there is here an increasing emphasis upon explicit linking of the curriculum units to State standards. But unlike other Institutes, this Institute also places an emphasis upon preparing students for matriculation at one of the State institutions. This is in accord with an aim of the Center for Educational Partnerships, with which the Institute retains very close links. The Institute intends to track from this point of view the progress of students in classes whose teachers have participated in the program.
UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute: To Santa Ana, a city with 51 schools now serving 59,000 students, a majority of whom have only a limited knowledge of English, 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 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.
Barbara Kuhn Al-Bayati, the Director, was formerly the Partnership Liaison in the Center for Educational Partnerships at the University. In 2000, the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute offered seven seminars for 70 teachers (62 of whom completed a curriculum unit): "The Natural History of Orange County" (Peter J. Bryant, Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology); "U.S. Literary Culture and Globalization" (John C. Rowe, Professor of English and Comparative Literature); "What Are the Chances of That? Probability in Everyday Life" (Amelia Regan, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering); "The Hardy Personality in Theory, Research, and Practice" (Salvatore Maddi, Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, and Deborah Khoshaba, Director, Program Development and Training, Hardiness Institute); "Teaching Religion Critically" (John H. Smith, Professor of German); "Inventing America" (Michael Clark, Professor of English and Comparative Literature; Jacobo Sefami, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese; and Steven Topik, Professor of History); and "Impacts of Computer and Networking Technologies on Education" (Stephen D. Franklin, Assistant Director, Office of Academic Computing, and Lecturer in Information and Computer Science).
As at other Institutes, there is here an increasing emphasis upon explicit linking of the curriculum units to State standards. But unlike other Institutes, this Institute also places an emphasis upon preparing students for matriculation at one of the State institutions. This is in accord with an aim of the Center for Educational Partnerships, with which the Institute retains very close links. The Institute intends to track from this point of view the progress of students in classes whose teachers have participated in the program.
The UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute has developed a list of thirteen possible seminars for 2001, from which ten will be selected for presentation. The Institute anticipates for next year an enrollment of about 100 Fellows, and there is an expectation of continued growth.
The Institute has a committed group of seminar leaders and Coordinators, and group of 20 Teacher Representatives. The faculty leadership is potentially very strong, and there is administrative support in the University and the School District at the highest level. Former Vice Chancellor William Lillyman (now Advisor to the Chancellor) has stated that there should be no problem in obtaining necessary financial support from the University 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 Institute. And both Lillyman and Assistant Vice Chancellor Juan Lara have spoken of the possibility of later expansion through the university system of California.
The Annual Report for 1998 had given an 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 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. The Annual Reports for 1999 and 2000 have updated the progress at each of these Institutes, noting some of the major challenges and accomplishments at each.
Here we summarize briefly the most important accomplishments of the National Demonstration Project as a whole and note some of their implications.
The Project is already showing in four different cities larger than New Haven
We anticipate that on its completion the National Demonstration Project will have shown the importance of the principles upon which these Institutes are based. We also hope that it will have also shown that new Teachers Institutes can sustain themselves after the initial Grant. If so, it will have provided the foundation for the expansion of some Teachers Institutes and the establishment of yet others in cities across the nation. And it will have shown that such Teachers Institutes can make a substantial contribution to the most important kind of school reform in this nation—the improvement of teaching itself.
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. Substantial groups of faculty members are learning the importance of Institute procedures and are assisting in the operation of the Institutes. At all four sites, top-level administrators in institutions of higher education have pledged to assist in the seeking of funds. At three sites they have pledged university financial support in addition. At three sites, school districts have made a substantial financial commitment. And at two sites, 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 have been for the most part roughly equal; at Houston the district has been of primary assistance; and at Pittsburgh outside funding has been of greatest importance.
At each Teachers Institute one or more seminars have emphasized local history, literature, geography, architecture, ecology, or economics. All four Teachers Institutes are also paying close attention 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 there has been a special effort to see that both seminars and curriculum units are in accord with the district academic standards. And the other Teachers Institutes are placing an increasing emphasis upon making explicit the ways in which each curriculum unit relates to district standards.
The prospects for longer-term scaling-up also look very good at this point, and the four new Teachers Institutes already point toward some of the 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. Superintendent Allison in Albuquerque has pointed to the same possibility.
In Pittsburgh, two institutions of higher education have established a consortium that can serve as a model for expansion elsewhere. 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. Superintendent Roderick Paige of Houston has made the point that scaling-up within an urban area need not mean simply an increase in the number of seminars; it might be accomplished through various ways of assisting more fully the priorities of the district. The proposal by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute for a second phase of dissemination, after this National Demonstration Project, calls for a two-year initial period during which the Institutes now established would assess their accomplishments and determine the most appropriate ways of scaling-up within their districts, regions, and states.
As our discussions of the common work have made clear, what Executive Vice Chancellor Lillyman of the University of California at Irvine called last year a valuable "interchange among sites across the nation" continues to be a major objective of the National Demonstration Project. As the increasing collaboration evident in the First and Second Annual Conferences, the establishment of web sites, and the intensive planning next April for a Third Annual Conference have indicated, this is also an important area of national accomplishment. University and school officials, not only teachers and faculty members, now want ongoing opportunities to work together and to learn from each other.
A substantial momentum impels the Institutes at all five cities to work more closely as the nucleus of a nationwide network of Teachers Institutes. The interest shown in the Proposal developed by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute for the continuing development of such Institutes through a national association has been very heartening in this respect.
|Learning in New Haven
We have noted in the Annual Reports of 1998 and 1999 that we have 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 have 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 Second Annual Conference gave us as a group and as individuals a yet clearer sense of participating in a far-reaching collaborative endeavor.
We also continue to pay attention to the need for revisions in the Request for Proposals that might be made in connection with a further project on a national scale. We now more fully appreciate that various elements of the Institute approach are intricately intertwined and that they all seem necessary. Sites should probably be asked to adopt more of the structures for teacher leadership and faculty influence that we have developed in New Haven. This might include requirements for a body of Teacher Representatives, suggested schedule of meetings, the nature of the canvassing of teachers for seminar topics, and the establishment of a faculty advisory council. We may also have to spell out more fully the responsibilities and functions of the Director of an Institute, and the minimum length for the "long-term" seminars.
As we have confronted transitions at several Teachers Institutes, we have been developing procedures that should be followed in naming a new Director. These procedures essentially mirror those that would be followed in New Haven, as set forth in our Policies and Procedures. We would require that teacher and faculty groups play a key role in identifying, interviewing, and selecting a new Director. This would be an open process that is advertised in some fashion. And the recommendation would ultimately have to be made by the individuals (President and Superintendent) to whom the Director must report.
We have also discovered, as we have noted earlier, that we have needlessly limited the target scope of a new Institute and should provide more flexible guidelines here that permit expansion as necessary. And we have realized more fully that the strategies for attaining systemic impact at the various demonstration sites will likely differ from those in New Haven. We continue to believe, however, that the Centers for Curriculum and Professional Development in New Haven may suggest a useful starting point for efforts in other Institutes to have an influence beyond the seminars themselves. We are heartened by the interest that has been shown in them by the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute and the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute.
Finally, we believe that we must devise additional ways to bring Directors, teachers, and faculty members into a working understanding of Institute procedures over the longer term. Despite the success of our orientation sessions and our July Intensives, we need continuing ways of reaching those who enter into an Institute's activity after its inauguration, and we think that this need is especially apparent in the case of the expanding pools of faculty members.
|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. This issue took stock of the entire movement of university-school partnerships over the past fifteen years. The Editorial 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 has great potential as a means of disseminating their experience and their results to a wider readership of those interested in university-school partnership.
Because funding had not been received for this purpose, no further Number of On Common Ground was published during 1998 and 1999. Funds for its continuation are still being sought. Plans were laid during 2000 for Number 9, however, to be published during the year 2001. This special Number will deal with the National Demonstration Project and the promise of this kind of work for the future. 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. It will also include articles from a faculty member and a teacher at the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.
|Looking Toward the Future
As indicated in the section on "National Accomplishments," 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 four-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).
In early 2000, it was decided to propose a fairly modest plan of expansion, involving perhaps two additional sites per year for several years. Discussion with President Richard Levin and others, however, encouraged us to think that we might make a more ambitious plan. During the spring and summer, therefore, the Executive Committee of the University Advisory Council developed a Draft Proposal for the establishment over a twelve-year period of as many as 45 new Institutes. These would be located in as many of the fifty states as possible, so that they might have the maximum influence upon state and national policy. This Draft Proposal was the basis for discussions by the National Advisory Committee and the meeting of University and School District officials with President Levin. The groups firmly endorsed the desirability of such an ambitious proposal, but they urged that the larger effort be preceded by two years of consolidation, intensification, and preparation on the part of all five of the existing Teachers Institutes.
A revised Proposal has therefore been drawn up, which describes a fourteen-year initiative that includes a two-year preparatory phase. During the first two years each of the four new Teachers Institutes would be asked to discover the most appropriate ways in which they could begin to have a larger systemic effect within their own districts. All five Institutes would be conducting research into the results of their programs. And the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute would be gearing up for the longer effort, to be supported by the other Teachers Institutes, to establish over the next twelve years as many as 45 new Institutes. President Levin and officers of the Yale University Development Office are currently seeking funds for all or parts of this initiative.
A revised Proposal describes a fourteen-year initiative that includes a two-year preparatory phase.
|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 feed-back 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:
Members of the Steering Committee for 2000 include Marge McMackin of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute, Ninfa Sepulveda of the Houston Teachers Institute, Martha Bedeaux of the Albuquerque Teachers Institute, and Mel E. Sanchez of the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute. During 2000 the Committee worked with a special planning committee to organize the program for the Second Annual Conference in October.
|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 mutual benefit of all.
By agreeing to serve on the National University Advisory Council, a faculty member accepts the following responsibilities. Each member:
Members of the National University Advisory Council for 2000 include James Davidson of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute, Cynthia Freeland of the Houston Teachers Institute, Kate Krause of the Albuquerque Teachers Institute, and Thelma Foote of the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute.
During 2000 this Advisory Council also worked with the special planning committee to organize the Second Annual Conference. At its meeting during that Conference, it urged that Faculty Advisory Councils be established at each of the demonstration sites.
|National Program Documentation and Evaluation
Extensive and complex processes of evaluation, with elaborate questionnaires for Fellows and seminar leaders, have always been included within 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.
The internal documentation and evaluation at each site has become 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. 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, which have been summarized in our Annual Report for 1999 and in the Brochure for the National Demonstration Project, spell out in detail the necessary contents of these reports.
The first report from each Institute, 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. The report for 2000 includes continuing description of the Institute's activities and progress. Each report also contains a summary of the accomplishments and impact of the demonstration thus far, the impediments encountered, the unanticipated outcomes, and the lessons learned.
These annual reports are designed to have great usefulness for each of the demonstration sites in their local management, planning, and fund-raising. They provide information for our own Annual Reports and for the annually revised Brochure for the National Demonstration Project. They inform us in our daily work with the new Institutes by alerting us to significant accomplishments, issues to be faced, and the need for special visits. These reports regularly provide background for our annual site visits, which focus (with varying emphasis from year to year) upon all aspects of the operation of the new Teachers Institutes, including their administration, their funding, their development of teacher leadership, their planning and carrying out of the seminar program, and the writing of the curriculum units.
The information gleaned from this documentation is also used for annual conferences and directors' meetings, which provide continuing conversation among the sites and enable comparison and revision of the demonstrations in progress. And it informs the dissemination by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute of the results of the project.
The contracts with the partnerships sponsoring the new Institutes specify that at least once during the grant period, a report will include a survey of the use of curriculum units by Fellows and non-Fellows in the school system. It was agreed at the directors' meeting in 2000 that this survey would take place in 2001 and would be included in the final narrative report. That final narrative report from each site will summarize the three-year demonstration in terms of the items covered by the annual narrative reports and will then answer the following questions:
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. This evaluation is described in the Annual Report of 1999 and in the Brochure for the National Demonstration Project.
The 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 new Teachers Institutes provide the evaluators from Policy Study Associates with full access to their activities and their documentation, including school and university personnel and sites. Policy Studies Associates is making annual site visits to the new Institutes, and it is providing reports on those visits to those Institutes and to the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. 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.