Highlights of the Report


Annual Report 2001 Contents | Brochures and Reports

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Introduction

The year 2002 will be the twenty-fifth year of operation for the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. During that year we expect to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary with one or more events that are intended to increase the visibility of the Institute and encourage further financial support. From its beginning in 1978, the overall purpose of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has been to strengthen teaching and learning in local schools and, by example, in schools across the country. New Haven represe nts a microcosm of urban public education in this country. More than 60 percent of its public school students come from families receiving public assistance and 85 percent are either African-American or Hispanic.

The Institute places equal emphasis on teachersí increasing their knowledge of a subject and on their developing teaching strategies that will be effective with their students. At the core of the program is a series of seminars on subjects in the humanities and the sciences. Topics are suggested by the teachers based on what they think could enrich their classroom instruction. In the seminars, Yale faculty contribute their knowledge of a subject, while the New Haven teachers contribute their expertise in elementary and secondary school pedagogy, their understanding of the students they teach, and their grasp of what works in the crucible of the classroom. Successful completion of a seminar requires that, with guidance from the Yale faculty member, the teachers each write a curriculum unit to be used in their own classroom and to be shared with others in the same school and other schools through both print and electronic publication.

Teachers are treated as colleagues throughout the seminar process. Unlike conventional university or professional development courses, Institute seminars involve at their very center an exchange of ideas among teachers and Yale faculty members. This is noteworthy since the teachers admitted to seminars are not a highly selective group, but rather a cross-section of teachers in the system, most of whom, like their urban counterparts across the country, did not major in one or more of the subjects they t each. The Instituteís approach assumes that urban public school teachers can engage in serious study of the field and can devise appropriate and effective curricula based on this study.


Teachers are treated as colleagues throughout the seminar process.

Through 2001, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has offered 149 seminars to 515 individual teachers, many of whom have participated for more than one year. The seminars, meeting over a five-month period, combine the reading and discussion of selected texts with the writing of the curriculum units. Thus far, the teachers have created 1348 curriculum units. Over the years, a total of 77 Yale faculty members have participated in the Institute by giving one or more seminars. Fifty-two of them have also given talks. Thirty-eight other Yale faculty members have also given talks. At this date about half of these 115 participants are current or recently retired members of the faculty.

The Instituteís twentieth year, 1997, had brought to a climax a period of intensive development of the local program. That had included placing all Institute resources on-line, providing computer assistance to the Fellows, correlating Institute-developed curriculum units with new school-district academic standards, establishing Institute Centers for Curriculum and Professional Development in the schools, and establishing summer Academies for New Haven students. In that year, while continuing to deepen its work in New Haven, the Institute began a major effort to demonstrate the efficacy of its approach in other cities across the country.

This effort involved in 1998 the planning stage of a National Demonstration Project, supported by the DeWitt Wallace-Readerís Digest Fund (now the Wallace-Readerís Digest Funds). In 1999 partnerships were established between colleges or universities and school districts at four sites that planned to adapt the Instituteís approach to local needs and resources. Implementation grants were awarded to four new Teachers Institutesóin Pittsburgh (Chatham College and Carnegie Mellon University), Houston (Unive rsity of Houston), Albuquerque (University of New Mexico), and Santa Ana (University of California at Irvine). These grants enabled them to work with the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute for a period of three years, from 1999 through 2001. It now appears that all four of the new Teachers Institutes will be able to continue in some form after the current Grant. The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute will continue to work with those Institutes that elect to join the next phase of its continuing National Ini tiative, a longer-term process of expansion that will enable the establishment of yet other Teachers Institutes across the country.

The two major sections of this report therefore describe the two complementary areas of activity undertaken by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.

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The Program in New Haven

This section of the report covers the offerings, organization, and operation of the Instituteís 2001 program for the New Haven teachers who participated as Fellows. It draws extensively upon the evaluations written by Fellows and seminar leaders at the conclusion of their participation.

The report here documents the sustaining of teacher interest in Institute seminars at the higher level recently achieved, as well as the content of the seminars that have been offered, the application and admissions process, the participantsí experience in the program, and the preparation for 2002. With respect to long-range planning and program development, it describes the continuing progress in establishing Institute Centers for Curriculum and Professional Development in the schools, placing more In stitute resources on-line, and providing computer assistance to the Fellows. It sets forth the structure and activities of the local advisory groups; and it outlines the process of local documentation and evaluation.

We hope that this section of the report will be of interest to all those who assist in supporting, maintaining, and expanding the program in New Haven. We also hope that its account of our local procedures may continue to prove useful to those who have established new Teachers Institutes in Pittsburgh, Houston, Albuquerque, and UCI-Santa Ana, and useful also to those at other sites who are contemplating the establishment of such Institutes.


We hope that this section may continue to prove useful to those who have established new Teachers Institutes and to those who are contemplating the establishment of such Institutes.
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National Advisory Committee

The account of the National Advisory Committee occupies a hinge position in this report because this Committee serves in an advisory capacity for both the program in New Haven and the National Demonstration Project.

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The National Demonstration Project

This section of the report covers the fourth and final year to be devoted to the National Demonstration Project supported by the DeWitt Wallace-Readerís Digest Fund (now the Wallace-Readerís Digest Funds). It begins by describing the roles played by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute in this Project. It then describes the third year of common work in which all five of the Teachers Institutes have engaged. It draws upon evaluations written by school teachers, university faculty, and directors from th e four new Teachers Institutes who participated in the Directorsí Meeting in March (held in New York) and the Third Annual Conference in October (held in New Haven). It also describes the work of the National Steering Committee and the National University Advisory Council, groups that are parallel to those in New Haven.

The report then describes the accomplishments of each of the four new Teachers Institutes. It sets forth the national accomplishments that have already occurred and are expected to occur. It comments upon the learning in New Haven that is also taking place as a result of the National Demonstration Project. And it describes how the progress and the results of that Project are being disseminated and how the Instituteís periodical, On Common Ground, is contributing to this effort.

The report then describes the internal and external processes through which the National Demonstration Project is being evaluated. Internal evaluations are being conducted by the four new Teachers Institutes and by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute as monitor of the Grant. These evaluations provide a continuing account of the challenges and accomplishments of the Demonstration Project. The external evaluation, which draws to some extent upon the internal evaluations, is conducted by Policy Studies Associates, commissioned by the Wallace-Readerís Digest Funds to perform this task.

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The Continuing National Initiative

Looking toward the future, the report then points out the opportunity for further expansion of the network of Teachers Institutes. It offers an account of the Proposal for a preliminary phase of consolidation, intensification, and preparation on the part of the Teachers Institutes that elect to participate, to be followed by a longer period during which additional Teachers Institutes would be established in many states. That process will begin in 2002-2003 with each Instituteís assessment of the effect iveness of its past three years, its planning for a major systemic effect in its district, and a collaborative preparation for a national association of Teachers Institutes.

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Financial Plans

A final section of the report sets forth the current financial planning with respect to both the New Haven program and the next phases of the national initiative.

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