The Yale National Initiative


Annual Report 2002 Contents | Brochures and Reports

Contents of section:


The Aims of the Yale National Initiative

Building upon the success of a four-year National Demonstration Project, the Yale National Initiative promotes the development of new Teachers Institutes that adopt the approach to professional development that has been followed for more than twenty-five years by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Teachers Institutes focus on the academic preparation of school teachers and on their application in their own classrooms of what they study in the Institute. By linking institutions of higher education with school districts where the students are mainly from low-income communities, Institutes strengthen teaching and learning in public schools and also benefit the institutions whose faculty members serve as seminar leaders. Each Institute also helps to disseminate this approach, encouraging and assisting other institutions and school districts as they develop similar programs in their own communities.

A Teachers Institute places equal emphasis on teachers’ increasing their knowledge of a subject and on their developing teaching strategies that will be effective with their students. At the core of its program is a series of seminars on subjects in the humanities and sciences. Topics are suggested by the teachers based on what they think could enrich their classroom instruction. In the seminars the university or college faculty members contribute their knowledge of a subject, while the school 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 the teachers, with guidance from a faculty member, 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.

Throughout the seminar process teachers are treated as colleagues. Unlike conventional university or professional development courses, Institute seminars involve at their very center an exchange of ideas among school teachers and university or college faculty members. The teachers admitted to seminars, however, are not a highly selective group, but rather a cross-section of those in the system, most of whom, like their urban counterparts across the country, did not major in one or more of the subjects they teach. The Institute 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.

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The National Demonstration Project

The National Demonstration Project, supported by a major grant from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and a supplementary grant from the McCune Charitable Foundation, amply demonstrated that Teachers Institutes based on the principles grounding the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute can be established and sustained in other cities where the pattern and magnitude of needs and resources are different from those in New Haven. It did so in a variety of institutional contexts, with the participation of liberal arts colleges, private universities, and state universities, acting individually or in a consortium. Institutions that had long had departments or schools of Education are now devoting a good deal of their energy to providing seminars for teachers in the liberal arts and sciences. By establishing Institutes from coast to coast, by setting in motion a National Steering Committee of school teachers and a National University Advisory Council (of university and college faculty members), and by holding a series of Annual Conferences, the National Demonstration Project laid the groundwork for a national network of such Teachers Institutes.


The Project amply demonstrated that Teachers Institutes based on the principles grounding the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute can be established and sustained in other cities.


In 1997 the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute had designed the Demonstration Project, had surveyed and visited likely sites, and had selected fourteen sites to be invited to apply for one-year Planning Grants. In 1998 it provided those sites with extensive information concerning the Institute’s policies and procedures. On recommendation of a National Panel, it awarded Planning Grants to five applicants. After their year of planning, and again on recommendation of the National Panel, it awarded three-year Implementation Grants to four applicants: the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute (a partnership among Chatham College, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Pittsburgh Public Schools); the Houston Teachers Institute (a partnership between the University of Houston and the Houston Independent School District); the Albuquerque Teachers Institute (a partnership between the University of New Mexico and the Albuquerque Public Schools); and the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute (a partnership between the University of California at Irvine and the Santa Ana Unified School District). These four Institutes exemplified a wide range of institutional type, city size, and opportunities for funding.

From 1999 through 2001 the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute monitored these new Institutes and helped them to become established as members of a collaborative network. It did so through a multitude of efforts, including a second “July Intensive”; three Annual Conferences; annual meetings of the Directors, the National Steering Committee (of teachers), and the National University Advisory Council (of faculty members); and many site visits and consultations. During those three years the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute offered 17 seminars, led by 11 different faculty members, in which 145 Fellows wrote curriculum units. The Houston Teachers Institute offered 17 seminars, led by 15 different faculty members, in which 129 Fellows wrote curriculum units. The Albuquerque Teachers Institute offered 20 seminars, led by 18 different faculty members, in which 157 Fellows wrote curriculum units. And the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute offered 23 seminars, led by 18 different faculty members, in which 146 Fellows completed 151 curriculum units. All of these curriculum units were circulated in printed copies and on Institute web-sites. At all four sites the vast majority of the Fellows expressed great satisfaction with the kind of professional development that the Institutes made possible. At all four sites the work of the Institutes received great praise from the administrators of the institutions of higher education and of the school districts. During those three years all four Institutes met the very difficult funding challenge posed by the terms of the Implementation Grants they were offered. And in December 2001, all four Institutes declared their intention to apply for Research and Planning Grants in the Preparation Phase of the Yale National Initiative.

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July 1999 Intensive Plenary Session. (Clockwise from left: Peter N. Herndon, Director James R. Vivian, Thomas R. Whitaker, and Jean E. Sutherland, New Haven; Jennifer D. Murphy, Aaron B. Chávez, Wanda Martin, and Douglas L. Earick, Albuquerque; John Groch, Helen S. Faison, Verna Arnold, and Margaret M. McMackin, Pittsburgh; Timeri K. Tolnay, Barbara Kuhn Al-Bayati, and Mel E. Sanchez, Santa Ana; Daniel Addis, Joy Teague, William J. Pisciella, Paul D. Cooke, and Ninfa A. Sepúlveda, Houston.)

Within these Institutes the teachers have found a greater creative responsibility for their own curricula, and they have found an opportunity to exercise leadership and judgment in sustaining the program of seminars that provides a continuing professional development. The university faculty members have also recognized more fully their responsibility for teaching at all levels in their own communities. As this has occurred, both the school teachers and the university faculty members have discovered their true collegiality in the on-going process of learning and teaching. And they have realized both the opportunities and the responsibilities that follow from their membership in a larger community devoted to the educational welfare of the young people of this nation.

Each of the five Teachers Institutes involved in the National Demonstration Project has been serving an urban school district that enrolls students most of whom are not only from low-income communities but also members of ethnic or racial minorities. In New Haven 57 percent of the students in the district are African American and 30 percent are Hispanic. In Pittsburgh, 56 percent of the students are African American. In the participating schools in Houston, 30 percent of the students are African American and 50 percent are Hispanic. In the participating schools in Santa Ana, more than 90 percent of the students are Hispanic, and more than 70 percent have limited English. As the Teachers Institutes enable teachers to improve their preparation in content fields, prepare curriculum units, and accept responsibility for much of their own professional development, they are also helping large numbers of minority students to achieve at higher levels by improving teaching and learning.

In sum, the National Demonstration Project has shown in four different cities larger than New Haven:


The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute monitored these new Institutes and helped them to become established as members of a collaborative network.

















Each of the five Teachers Institutes involved in the National Demonstration Project has been serving an urban school district that enrolls students most of whom are not only from low-income communities but also members of ethnic or racial minorities.

• that a Teachers Institute serving approximately 20 schools that enroll predominantly minority students can be rapidly inaugurated;

• that such a Teachers Institute can immediately carry out a program of 4-6 content-based seminars in the humanities and sciences, which increase teachers’ knowledge, heighten their morale, encourage their use of new technologies, and result in individually crafted curriculum units of substance for use in classrooms;

• that such Institutes will arouse the enthusiasm and support of significant numbers of teachers and university faculty members;

• that such Institutes can attract support—including pledges of continuing support—from administrators of a private liberal arts college, a private university emphasizing the sciences, a flagship state university, and a major state university in a larger system;

• that high-level administrators in school districts, superintendents or their immediate subordinates, will be attracted by the idea of such an Institute, will start thinking about the local means of scaling-up, and will commit themselves to its long-term support;

• and that the strategies employed in establishing the National Demonstration Project, including National Seminars and observation of local seminars in New Haven, are admirably suited for the process of further disseminating the Yale-New Haven model and establishing a nation-wide network of Teachers Institutes.

The National Demonstration Project has made amply clear the importance of the principles upon which these Institutes are based. It has shown that, given favorable circumstances, the new Teachers Institutes can sustain themselves after the initial Grant. It has provided the foundation for the expansion of some Teachers Institutes and the establishment of yet others in cities across the nation. And it has 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.

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The Preparation Phase

An earlier proposal for a ten-year Yale National Initiative (for which see the Annual Reports of 2000 and 2001) had been expanded, in response to the recommendation of the National Advisory Committee and the university and school administrators meeting with that Committee in November 2000, to include a two-year Preparation Phase of research and planning. During the fall of 2001, we developed an RFP for this Preparation Phase. The re-grants to the participating Institutes for research and planning would be supported by an extension of the grant from the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds that would allow unexpended funds to be used from April 1, 2002 through March 22, 2003. The meetings and other expenses, including conversations among the participants during the spring and summer of 2003, directed toward the further development of the national initiative, would be supported by the two-year grant, mentioned in section I, of $291,290 from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. The RFP for the Preparation Phase allowed for funding to be provided for studies on the results of Institute participation on teachers, their students, and schools in the school district that is a partner in establishing it; and for planning for an Institute to attain a systemic impact in the school district that is a partner in establishing it.


An earlier proposal had been expanded to include a two-year Preparation Phase of research and planning.


A short form of the RFP was sent at the end of November 2001 to the four new Teachers Institutes in the National Demonstration Project—Pittsburgh, Houston, Albuquerque, and UCI-Santa Ana—requesting that they declare by December 15 their intent to apply for a Research and Planning Grant. They were notified that the Final Narrative Report, due on February 28, 2002, would be used as a partial basis for judging the Application for Research and Planning. For that purpose, each Institute was told that it would be important to include in the Final Narrative Report specific answers to the following questions: What do you think are the most important outcomes, impacts, and lessons learned from this project? How has it changed the way in which your institution or other institutions may address these issues? What plans do you have for your Teachers Institute continuing as a partnership between one or more institutions of higher education and the school district it has been serving? Each Institute was also asked to describe its plans for the next two years, showing in detail the current and planned conformity with the sixteen Basic Principles set forth in the RFP for the National Demonstration Project. Each was also asked to indicate the current and planned funding for the Institute, and the seminars planned for 2002 and likely to be planned for 2003, with their expected enrollment. Finally, each was asked to indicate the research it would propose to undertake, if given funding for that purpose, to evaluate the present accomplishments of the Institute; and the planning it would undertake, if given such funding, to explore and define the actual and potential relations between Institute seminars and the priorities and goals of the school district, so that the Institute might have the greatest systemic impact within the district. Each Institute was asked how the school district would be participating in that research and planning.

In December all four of the new Teachers Institutes declared their intent to apply. Soon thereafter, the full RFP was sent to those Teachers Institutes. The anticipated range of Grants was $25,000-100,000. The time frame for activities was April 2002-August 2003. Funds granted for research and planning were to be fully expended by March 2003, but each Institute would be continuing conversations with other participants during the spring and summer of 2003. Completed applications were to be submitted by February 28, 2002. By that time, however, both Albuquerque and UCI-Santa Ana had withdrawn from consideration, because of unforeseen administrative problems in the Albuquerque Public Schools and unforeseen budgetary problems in the State of California. Applications were received from Pittsburgh and Houston.

A National Panel was appointed (as had been done in connection with the National Demonstration Project), which met in two partial but overlapping sessions. On the basis of the first meeting, preliminary responses were sent to Pittsburgh and Houston, which urged significant expansion and revision of their proposals. The modifications presented by the Directors were then taken into consideration, along with the original proposals, in the second meeting. Grants were awarded to both Pittsburgh and Houston, those awards being accompanied by further letters of advice.

The Pittsburgh Teachers Institute proposed to undertake several kinds of research with the assistance of Cornerstone Evaluation Associates. It would conduct surveys to reflect upon the process that was followed in the initiation of the Institute and to solicit suggestions as to how the process might have been better. It would also hold several focus groups to elicit reflections on the implementation of the Institute model and the best ways to disseminate curriculum units and the program model. And it would conduct research, using teacher and student focus groups and pre-and-post student testing, to assess the impact of the Institute on students from the perspectives of teachers and students.

The Houston Teachers Institute proposed to analyze, with the assistance of two professors from the Department of Sociology at the University of Houston, data already collected and further data to be gathered, including information from focus group interviews, in order to develop a report concerning the effectiveness of the Institute. Also, the Director Paul Cooke would conduct research, including interviews with selected Fellows, observation of their teaching of curriculum units, and observation of the activities of the Teachers Institute. He would summarize the results of this research by the end of the grant period in 2003, but it would also provide the groundwork for the drafting of a book on “A Year with the Teachers Institute,” which he would then undertake. During the period of Cooke’s research, he would be relieved of most of his day-to-day duties as Director, being replaced in that respect by a high-school teacher who has been active in the Institute.


The National Panel further urged that the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute incorporate additional subject-matter experts somewhat removed from the project; compare how state and district standards are being met through Institute and non-Institute curricula; and consult further with the Pittsburgh Public Schools about additional planning for maximum systemic impact. The Panel urged that the Houston Teachers Institute also consult with some outside observer or evaluator, and that it consult with the Houston Independent School District about additional planning for maximum systemic impact.

A number of meetings with the participants during the Preparation Phase had been planned. On November 14, 2002, in conjunction with our 25th Anniversary celebration on the evening of November 13 (described earlier in this Annual Report), we scheduled the meeting of a Teachers Institutes Con-ference with the Directors and the teams from Pittsburgh, Houston, and New Haven. This conference was, in effect, a modified continuation of the three Annual Conferences that we held during the National Demonstration Project.

The morning session of the Teachers Institutes Conference was planned largely by the Directors of the Houston Teachers Institute and the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute, so that it would focus on the questions that would be most useful for them. We then proposed questions to be discussed over lunch, concerning the future of the Yale National Initiative. After some words of welcome from James Vivian, Director of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute and the Yale National Initiative, Helen Faison, Director of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute gave the charge to the gathered teams and roundtables. The central question posed was: After the 25 years of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, and as the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute and the Houston Teachers Institute begin their fifth year, what can we conclude about some key issues regarding our Institutes? The three groups discussed these issues and then presented their responses to the entire conference in a plenary session moderated by Paul Cooke, Director of the Houston Teachers Institute. Three respondents then reflected further upon the issues.

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The Teachers Institutes Conference in New Haven, November 2002. (Left to right: Carolyn N. Kinder, New Haven; Carol M. Petett and Julie Small, Pittsburgh.)

The issues discussed and the major responses given were:

1. What are the indispensable principles or goals upon which our Teachers Institutes are founded? Among the responses were “partnership,” “collegiality between university faculty members and actively participating teachers,” “meaningful professional development chosen by the teachers,” “restriction to the urban school district,” “seminars that deal with the substance of disciplines in the arts and sciences and that cut across the curriculum,” “a curriculum unit that is substantially a narrative of some length and developed over some time,” “publication of the curriculum units,” “focus on the individual teacher’s students and their achievement,” “seminars open to all teachers, from a range of grade-levels,” “limited enrollment in seminars,” “communication, with the Director as leader-facilitator,” “reliance on the example of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute,” and “on-going orientation of university faculty members.”

2. How may the roles of the seminar leader and the coordinator be fulfilled so that Institute principles and goals are realized? Among the responses were: “a complementary relationship between seminar leader and coordinator,” “frequent meetings of coordinators and seminar leaders, separately, as groups,” “coordinators must be in touch and note difficulties,” “these must be seminars and not primarily lectures,” “the seminar leader should give Fellows guidance and point out university resources,” and “the seminar leader may model teaching strategies.”

3. How do the Institutes affect Fellows, their students, and seminar leaders? Among the responses were: “revitalization of teachers, including the seminar leaders,” “establishment of new lines of communication among university faculty members, school teachers, and students,” “opportunity for teachers to become students,” “vertical alignment in sequence of grades, but with creativity,” “creation and discovery of teacher-leaders,” “gain in teachers’ confidence in learning and communications skills through writing a curriculum unit,” “collaboration among teachers, including some movement toward centers of professional development,” “effects on the district, through publication of curriculum units and other means of presentation,” “much evidence of student enthusiasm and creativity through use of units developed by their own teachers.”





This was a modified continuation of the three Annual Conferences that we held during the National Demonstration Project.

After the 25 years of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, and as the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute and the Houston Teachers Institute begin their fifth year, what can we conclude about some key issues regarding our Institutes?

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The Teachers Institutes Conference in New Haven, November 2002. (Left to right: Mary E. Miller, New Haven; Josephine Hamilton and Ken Brown, Houston.)

Rogers Smith, now of the University of Pennsylvania, responding further to the first question, emphasized a convergence of responses on the following principles:

• Institutes that are teacher-driven

• Collegiality

• Curriculum units that contain both narrative and lesson plans

• Partnership between the institution(s) of higher education and the school district

• Inclusive nature of admission to the Teachers Institute

• Focus on urban disadvantaged students

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The Teachers Institutes Conference in New Haven, November 2002. (Left to right: Jules D. Prown, New Haven; Allyson Walker, Pittsburgh; Rogers M. Smith, Philadelphia; and Jean E. Sutherland, New Haven.)





Rogers Smith emphasized a convergence of responses on certain principles.

Bill Pisciella, of the Houston Teachers Institute, responding further to the second question, emphasized the value of disagreements or controversies within the Teachers Institute community. Connie Weiss, of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute, responding further to the third question, emphasized the value of establishing learning communities that include a sharing among university faculty members, school teachers, and students.

The participants also mentioned at this time some other ideas for use in the future, including site visits from each Institute to other new Institutes, participation of each Institute in the work of new sites; dissemination of the process and the results through videos; the development of handbooks and of manuals describing the work of seminar leaders, coordinators, and directors; the usefulness of writing workshops, technology sessions, and “help sessions”; and video-conferencing among the Institutes.

During the lunchtime session, after a charge to the gathered delegates from James Vivian to consider the Yale National Initiative and the ways in which the Pittsburgh Teacher Institute and the Houston Teachers Institute might be involved with potential new Institutes, each of the tables dealt with several questions. Reporters from them summarized those discussions for the entire conference. Because, at a given table, there was often little direct knowledge of some of the activities in the earlier years of the National Demonstration Project, and because there was no attempt to reach a consensus, the specific responses should be regarded as suggestive.

All participants from Pittsburgh and Houston agreed, however, upon the very great usefulness in the establishment of their Institutes of the following activities: the initial information sessions in New Haven in the summer of 1998 and January 1999; the initial site visits by teams from New Haven in 1999; the July Intensives offered in New Haven; the site visits by teams from New Haven after the establishment of the new Institute; and the Annual fall conferences in New Haven. They did not recommend the deletion of any of these activities. They did suggest that both the Intensives and the fall Conferences might well be located elsewhere on occasion or in addition, and involve Pittsburgh and Houston yet more fully in the planning. It seemed good, however, to have New Haven as a central site, especially for new people. It would be good now to have site visits conducted by teams from several existing Institutes.

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The Teachers Institutes Conference in New Haven, November 2002. (Left to right: Patricia Y. Gordon, Pittsburgh; Felicia Collins, Houston; John P. Wargo, New Haven; and Ninfa A. Sepúlveda, Houston.)

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Luncheon discussion at the Teachers Institutes Conference in New Haven, November 2002.

When asked about the most useful ways in which the present three Institutes might work with potential new Institutes, the participants suggested that it would be important to have a fuller sharing of experience at the outset from all three of the present Institutes, including models of successful procedure. There should also be some visiting of potential Institutes by people from Pittsburgh and Houston, and perhaps also visits to Pittsburgh and Houston by those from potential or new Institutes. And there should be a fuller discussion of sources for funding potential Institutes.



All participants agreed upon the very great usefulness of the initial information sessions in New Haven, the initial site visits, the July Intensives, the site visits by teams from New Haven, and the Annual fall conferences.


The participants also suggested other activities that should be added to the process of working with potential new Institutes, including a fuller sharing of suggestive manuals for the various kinds of participants in an Institute, and other kinds of linkages that would enable all of the Institutes to compare notes on procedure and accomplishments. They suggested that experienced Fellows from Pittsburgh and Houston could help to explain the importance of establishing a teacher-driven Institute, could help in recruiting efforts, and could establish mentor relationships. Seminar leaders might also mentor other seminar leaders on how to lead a seminar. And the participation of Institute Directors would be very important, in order to explain both the principles of operation and the practical details of getting an Institute under way—how to obtain funding, how to mediate among different interests, how to be a non-authoritarian leader; and how to work with deans and presidents.

In the afternoon, James Vivian and Thomas Whitaker from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute met with the Director of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute and Allyson Walker, President of Cornerstone Evaluation Associates, who has been directing the research for that Institute; and also with the Director of the Houston Teachers Institute and Professor Joseph Kotarba of the University of Houston, who has been contributing to the research for that Institute. This was an opportunity to share the progress of the research and planning at Pittsburgh and Houston among people from all three Institutes.

With regard to Pittsburgh, Helen Faison described the holding of three major focus groups, with teachers, seminar leaders, and others, and also spoke of the need to get some sense of impact of the use of curriculum units upon students. Janet Stock, a faculty member and administrator who has led Institute seminars and is experienced in this kind of research, has met with teachers and developed with them a set of pre-and-post questions for the students. Other sections taught by these teachers, but not given the curriculum unit, would be used as controls. Allyson Walker would also meet with high school students, in order to learn of their experience with the curriculum units.

Allyson Walker stated that a Carnegie Mellon evaluator, having looked at the Institute’s web-site, and would give them advice on how to improve the dissemination of their work. She also passed out a document on “Preliminary Findings from Focus Groups,” which lists ways in which the process followed in the initiation of the Institute might be improved and notes some ways in which systemic impact might be increased.

With regard to Houston, Joseph Kotarba stated that Professor Lorenz had developed a quantifiable questionnaire. There have been six focus groups, all with teachers (mixtures of elementary, middle and high school), which have focused upon the process of change through looking at “contradictions” or “continuing issues.” There will also be group interviews with middle school and high school students.

Paul Cooke also described the work done thus far on his research and narrative project. He has been working on chapters on the beginning of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute and that of the Houston Teachers Institute. In the spring he will follow seven teachers who are Fellows of the Institute. In the discussion that followed, Joseph Kotarba noted that even the people who did not complete a seminar in Houston still feel it was a worthwhile experience. One of the major influences of a seminar is a “reputation” that teachers are going to the Houston Teachers Institute.

In thinking about systemic impact, James Vivian suggested that the work of these new Institutes might be connected yet further with the demand to have a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. It would be good to direct the emphasis on writing and mentoring so that every new teacher would have support from other qualified teachers who are Fellows of an Institute. He also suggested that it would be good to discover any evidence that the Institutes are helping the problem of retention of teachers—as has been the case in New Haven.

During the spring of 2003, we expect to have further meetings of the university faculty and school teachers in New Haven who have been most involved with the National Demonstration Project, to help us reflect on the value of that Project and think about useful modifications in its process of preparation, continuing operation, and assessment.

New Haven colleagues will discuss the new Articles of Understanding (and their correlated Necessary Procedures) which during this Preparation Phase we have been revising and developing from the initial sixteen Basic Principles. These will serve as a primary basis for the Requests for Proposals under the Yale National Initiative. The National Steering Committee may discuss the results of the surveys of the use of curriculum units from the National Demonstration Project, which researchers from the University of Pennsylvania are helping us to collate and quantify. The Directors may discuss the results of Fellows questionnaires from the National Demonstration Project, which those researchers are also helping us to collate and quantify. The Directors may also discuss the revised Articles of Understanding and the Necessary Procedures. Those who have participated in site visits may discuss the final reports on research and planning from the new Institutes, as may the National Panel.

Other meetings will engage two major topics: assessing the efficacy of the four newly established Teachers Institutes and preparing for the establishment of a network of Teachers Institutes. A group from the local Implementation Team for the National Demonstration Project will discuss these matters. So too will meetings of the National Faculty Advisory Council and the National Steering Committee of teachers (established during the National Demonstration Project, and now including representatives from Pittsburgh and Houston), and perhaps also individuals from Albuquerque and UCI-Santa Ana. These meetings of faculty and teachers might help to shape the visiting teams for the next phase of the National Initiative.

During this Preparation Phase, the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute and the Houston Teachers Institute have not only sustained but also expanded and deepened their programs. In 2002, the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute mounted seven seminars, two of which were developed in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The Fellows completed 58 curriculum units. In that year the Houston Teachers Institute also mounted seven seminars, one of which was funded by Project TEACH, a partnership between the Institute and the Houston Independent School District supported by the U.S. Department of Education. The Fellows completed 69 curriculum units.

Although the Albuquerque Teachers Institute had been prevented by administrative problems in the Albuquerque Public Schools from applying for a Research and Planning Grant, it too continued to offer seminars. It held eight seminars in 2002, which were completed by 86 Fellows. The UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute had been prevented by the financial crisis in California from applying for a Research and Planning Grant. Although it planned seminars for the academic year 2002-2003, it has been in hiatus pending California’s recovery from this financial crisis.


During this Preparation Phase, the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute and the Houston Teachers Institute have not only sustained but also expanded and deepened their programs.





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The Pittsburgh Teachers Institute

The Annual Report from the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute indicated that in 2001 and 2002 upon popular demand participation was opened to all teachers in the district whose essays accompanying their applications indicated that the seminar in which they sought to enroll was relevant to the grade or courses they taught. Adequate funds were provided for 2002, the first year for which the local community was required to provide full financial support for the Institute—and funding for 2003 was also assured. The School District, continuing to make a minimal cash contribution, provided grant funds that it received from the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Education to support a three-year series of seminars, one each in science, mathematics, and American history. Chatham College continued to provide rent-free seminar meeting rooms, and office space and parking for the Director. A small foundation grant awarded to a Carnegie Mellon University professor provided funds to cover the stipends for the Fellows enrolled in her seminar. As the Annual Report states, the Institute “can be termed a success for it has adhered to the basic principles that have guided the development of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute,” has “met the challenge to become financially self-sufficient and has succeeded in raising the funds required for the continuation of the project for two years, 2002 and 2003, since the original grant from Yale University expired.”




The Institute “can be termed a success for it has adhered to the basic principles that have guided the development of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute,” and has “met the challenge to become financially self-sufficient.“
      —Pittsburgh Annual Report

The Institute was also included in a RAND study that has been commissioned by two of the foundations that have made major gifts to its support. Its purpose is to study non-profit education reform organizations in western Pennsylvania in order to explore opportunities for collaboration among them and to provide useful feedback to them.

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Marlene Gardner's students at the Frick International studies Academy in Pittsburgh studying her curriculum unit on “Making Connections: Reflections of History.”

Governance of the Institute, except for decisions regarding fund-raising, continues to be a responsibility of the teachers who serve as School Representatives. Teachers continue to have the opportunity to earn increment credit, which qualifies them for salary increases, and Act 48 credit, which the State of Pennsylvania requires that they earn to retain their certification. According to their evaluations of their Institute experience, however, the greatest incentive is the opportunity to again become learners in a challenging environment.

During the four-year history of the Institute a total of about 200 teachers have participated in seminars and completed curriculum units. This represents about 8 percent of the total number of teachers in the district. According to the Annual Report, “The Pittsburgh Institute is now being viewed as a permanent opportunity for professional development for teachers by many of the teachers in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and those professors from the two sponsoring institutions of higher education who have served as seminar leaders.” The reasons for this success include:

the interest and commitment of the sponsoring institutions, the administrative level of the representatives who were appointed by the Presidents and the Superintendent of Schools to represent their offices in the sponsoring of the Institute, the financial and other support provided by the local foundation community, the quality and commitment of those professors who have become seminar leaders, and the interest and commitment of individual teachers . . . .









“The Pittsburgh Institute is now being viewed as a permanent opportunity for professional development for teachers.“
      —Pittsburgh Annual Report

Three of the teachers who were early participants in the Institute have become school administrators, and in their new roles have demonstrated skill as instructional leaders. Three of the teachers have become literacy coaches for secondary schools. And two have, since their retirement, assumed positions at Chatham College.

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The Houston Teachers Institute

The Annual Report from the Houston Teachers Institute indicated that, beginning in January, 2002, the University of Houston began paying the salary of the Director. Dan Addis, a high school teacher—and teacher leader with the Institute since 1999—took leave of absence from his school to become the Assistant Director for one year, thus relieving the Director, Paul Cooke, of some duties so that he could carry out part of the research project for which the Institute received a Grant. The position of Assistant Director was funded in part by a gift of $12,100 from the Powell Foundation. The Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, Kaye Stripling, and the Chief of Staff for Academic Services, Robert Stockwell, have committed themselves to continuing the support of $50,000 per year that was pledged in 2000 by Susan Sclafani, then Chief of Staff for Academic Services.

The Institute’s vigorous leadership committee, the Representatives comprised of teachers, continues to be ethnically as diverse as the body of Fellows. In 2002 it consisted of 23 Fellows—8 African Americans, 7 Hispanics, and 8 Non-Hispanic Whites. In 2002 the Institute began the expansion project laid out in the Vision Paper of 2001, fielding seven seminars, which were led by a completely new set of seminar leaders. It admitted the largest group of Fellows thus far, 83 teachers from 40 different schools—20 of which had not sent participants before. There has been a substantial improvement in the attrition rate that the Institute has experienced. This success is attributed to its effort to support Fellows more thoroughly (with a revised Fellows Handbook and two curriculum writing workshops in 2002, and three such workshops planned for 2003) and also to prepare seminar leaders more fully (with the Seminar Leaders Orientation Guide, and through meetings with the Director, with former seminar leaders and with veteran Fellows).

Indeed, seminar leaders have written at some length about the value of the seminars for them—finding it not only beneficial as an outreach activity, but also teaching them much about public education in Houston and encouraging them often to consider using the Institute style of seminar in some of their classes. “I hope,” said one, “that the experience of teaching by asking rather than by telling will affect my UH courses.” And although some Fellows lacking in strong writing ability have found it difficult to develop an effective curriculum unit, the Director stated that:





The Institute began the expansion project and admitted the largest group of Fellows thus far, 83 teachers from 40 different schools—20 of which had not sent participants before.

In the great majority of units . . . the 2002 Fellows demonstrated that the writing tasks outlined for teachers by the Institute were not so very daunting. Unquestionably, the reading, reflection, and revising required of the Fellows prompts them to be more thoughtful, more confident, and more effective with their students. Moreover, the creative ideas in their units will inspire their students to study and work diligently in their classroom, for the Fellows formulate themes that interest their students and that are relevant to their lives.

In 2002 the Institute offered its first seminar funded by Project TEACH, a partnership between the Institute and the Houston Independent School District supported by the U. S. Department of Education to advance the teaching of United States history in public schools. In 2003 two of the eight seminars to be offered will be funded in part by Project TEACH. It is hoped that nine seminars can be offered in 2004. The Institute expects that its size will then stabilize at nine or ten seminars, admitting up to 150 Fellows per year.

This year the Institute used funds from the Houston Independent School District, the University of Houston, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Houston Endowment, Inc., the Powell Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education. At the time of this report, the Institute anticipated the need to raise approximately $450,000 more for the programs over the next two years.

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The seminar on “Houston Architecture: Interpreting the City.” (Seminar leader Stephen Fox, holding folders, with Fellows.)

About the relationship between the Houston Teachers Institute and the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, the Director has written extensively. “We have clearly demonstrated,” he has said, “our wish to maintain an explicit and visible relationship with the Yale program. We appreciate the pioneering work the Yale program has done over the years and we are in their debt for the very useful and valuable model of a teachers institute that they have developed.” He said further:

The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has continued to be very encouraging and helpful to us this year, as in the past. The Yale leadership encouraged us in January and February to apply for grant funds to enable us to conduct research into the effectiveness of the Houston Teachers Institute. Though our application met with many delays, the Yale Institute administration was patient while we resolved the many issues regarding the assembling of a meaningful evaluation agenda . . . Over time a sense of fellowship and camaraderie has developed and I feel a genuine affection for the Yale program and its leadership, and an admiration for the patience, thoughtfulness, and commitment that has produced this worthwhile program. We hope to cooperate with the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute and the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute in pioneering new Institutes around the country.

“Unquestionably, the reading, reflection, and revising required of the Fellows prompts them to be more thoughtful, more confident, and more effective with their students.“
      —Director, Houston Teachers Institute




“Over time a sense of fellowship and camaraderie has developed and I feel a genuine affection for the Yale program and its leadership, and an admiration for the patience, thoughtfulness, and commitment that has produced this worthwhile program.“
      —Director, Houston Teachers Institute

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National Advisory Groups

National Steering Committee

The National Steering Committee, formed on the model of the Steering Committee that helps to guide the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, has been composed of one school teacher from each site participating in the Yale National Initiative. Members of the National Steering Committee have been selected by the Director of the Yale National Initiative for a one-year term from January through December. They have been teachers prepared to help guide the project, to help plan the conferences, and to suggest topics most in need of discussion. They have provided and received other advice and information, and have helped to ensure that teachers were playing a leading role in the demonstrations and in the common work. They have also provided feedback on the usefulness of each meeting and have furthered the communication among the sites. It has been required that a Steering Committee member be—and intend to continue as—a teacher in one of the public schools participating in the National Demonstration Project or the Preparation Phase. In separate and joint meetings with the National University Advisory Council, they have provided a forum in which shared opportunities and problems could be discussed to the mutual benefit of all.

By agreeing to serve as a National Steering Committee member, a teacher has accepted the following responsibilities. Each member:

1. Exerts leadership and participates actively in one or more of the major endeavors at a participating site.

2. Participates as an Institute Fellow in the seminar offerings at that site in the year during service as a National Steering Committee Member.

3. Attends and comes prepared to meetings of the National Steering Committee.

4. Participates actively in the functions of the National Steering Committee.

Members of the Steering Committee for 2002 included Carol Petett of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute, Ninfa Anita Sepúlveda of the Houston Teachers Institute, Blake Learmonth of the Albuquerque Teachers Institute, and Mel Sanchez of the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute. Carol Petett and Ninfa Anita Sepúlveda attended the Teachers Institutes Conference and contributed to discussions. Blake Learmonth and Mel Sanchez were helpful at their Institutes with administration of the survey of the use of curriculum units.

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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, has been composed of one university or college faculty member from each site participating in the Yale National Initiative. The members of the National University Advisory Council are selected by the Director of the Yale National Initiative for a one-year term from January through December. They have been faculty members prepared to help guide the general direction of the Initiative, to help plan the conferences, and to suggest topics most in need of discussion. They have provided and received other advice and information, and helped ensure that university and college faculty members play a leading role in the demonstrations and in the common work. They have also provided feedback on the usefulness of each meeting and furthered the communication among the sites. In separate and joint meetings with the National Steering Committee of teachers, they have provided a forum in which shared opportunities and problems can be discussed to the mutual benefit of all.

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National Steering Committee member Ninfa Anita Sepúlveda, Houston, with Bill Cosby at the 25th Anniversary Celebration.

By agreeing to serve on the National University Advisory Council, a faculty member has accepted the following responsibilities. Each member:

1. Exerts leadership and serves as an advisor at a participating site.

2. Attends and comes prepared to meetings of the National University Advisory Council in New Haven.

3. Participates actively in the functions of the National University Advisory Council.

Members of the National University Advisory Council for 2002 included 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.

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Documentation of the National Demonstration Project and the Preparation Phase

The internal documentation of the National Demonstration Project by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has been extensive and thorough. The Annual Reports to the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and its successor as funder of the project, the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds (1998-2002), like the forthcoming Final Report to the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds, are based on our own keeping of records and on our transactions with the four new Institutes, which include their Annual Reports, questionnaires, curriculum units, and other pertinent documents. The reports are also based upon the deliberations of the National Panel, the consequent advice sent to the new Institutes, our responses to the Annual Reports of the new Institutes, our site visits to them (with their general and specific Site Visit Protocols), and the meetings of the Planning Team, the Implementation Team, site visit teams, the University Advisory Council, and the National Advisory Committee. The First and Second Annual Reports to the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund also included documentation concerning the July Intensives of 1998 and 1999; the Second, Third, and Fourth Annual Reports also included documentation concerning the First, Second, and Third Annual Conferences.

Other documentation, which partially overlaps the reports to the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds, includes the Brochure for the National Demonstration Project, which is annually revised; the Annual Reports of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute; and Number 9 of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute publication, On Common Ground, which contains essays by teachers, university faculty members, administrators, and members of the funding community about the establishment and the on-going results of the National Demonstration Project.

A major task of documentation, which has extended into the Preparation Phase of the Yale National Initiative in 2003-2003, is the collating and analyzing of the annual Fellows questionnaires from the four sites and the survey of the use of curriculum units that was administered in 2002 to Fellows and non-Fellows. In beginning to analyze these questionnaires and surveys, we have had the assistance of Rogers M. Smith, formerly a Yale faculty member, seminar leader, and co-chair of the University Advisory Council, and now a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania. He in turn has been helped in the statistical analysis by two graduate assistants at the University of Pennsylvania. Our analysis of the questionnaires and surveys will continue with the support of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in 2003. At this point, however, we can affirm that the analysis is very heartening in that it shows the positive effects of the participation of students in classes where curriculum units have been used by Fellows and non-Fellows. This is important evidence, especially because it confirms the evidence from focus groups and interviews that have been conducted in Pittsburgh and Houston during 2002, as part of their Planning and Research.


Number 9 of   On Common Ground   contains essays by teachers, university faculty members, administrators, and members of the funding community about the establishment and the on-going results of the Project.

The Annual Narrative and Financial Reports for 2002 from Pittsburgh and Houston were modeled closely on those that had been requested during the National Demonstration Project. They also included, however, answers to both general and specific questions relating to the Grant Proposal for Research and Planning. Generally, they provided a summary of how the activities supported by the Grant during 2002 had contributed to progress toward those objectives. They also noted any impediments encountered, any unanticipated outcomes, and the lessons learned thus far. Specific questions concerning progress with regard to the various items in the Proposals and the responses of the National Panel were directed to each Teachers Institute.

The Final Narrative and Financial Reports from the Pittsburgh and Houston Teachers Institutes, which will cover the Grants for Research and Planning from April 2002 through February 2003, will be exclusively devoted to the research and planning supported by the new grants. They will be organized in accord with the following major questions:

• What has been learned as a result of your research into the effects of this Institute on teachers, on students, and on schools?

• What plans are you now able to make, as a result of your research, to have a greater systemic impact in your school district?

• What recommendations do you have about procedures for establishing new Institutes, and in what ways do you believe your Institute could most usefully participate in that process?

In their summaries, the reports will answer the following questions:

• In what ways, as a result of this Grant, is the Institute now better prepared to move into the future as a partnership between an institution (or institutions) of higher education and a school district?

• In what ways is the Institute now better prepared to take part in the conversations during the spring and summer of 2003 that will be directed toward the further development of the Yale National Initiative?

• In what ways is it now better prepared to move into the future as a contributor to the activities of the Yale National Initiative?

Our own Final Report to the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds, to be submitted in April 2003, will be for us more than a statement of activities in response to the need expressed by the funders. As is evident from the foregoing account, much of the emphasis of this Preparation Phase has also been upon deliberations in New Haven concerning the documentation of the National Demonstration Project and the deciding upon the next appropriate steps for the Yale National Initiative. This process has included the meetings held and proposed, as well as the continuing analysis of the questionnaires from the new Institutes and the survey of Fellows and non-Fellows concerning use of curriculum units. The collective writing of this document, which is involving review and conversations among many persons in New Haven, constitutes and embodies a detailed and extensive rethinking of our performance, our procedures, and our plans for the future.

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