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Aims and Current Accomplishments
Brochures and Reports | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Aims and Current Accomplishments
Establishing the Project
A Network of Teachers Institutes
Communication and Dissemination
Documentation and Evaluation
Expansion and Affiliation
Appendix: Basic Principles
The National Demonstration Project, supported by a four-year grant of $2.5 million from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, aims to demonstrate the feasibility of adapting at other sites the approach to teachers’ professional development that has been followed for more than two decades by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. With its support four new Teachers Institutes, serving urban school systems that enroll students who are mainly from low-income and minority communities, are now in their second year. There are already signs that the National Demonstration Project is attaining a significant success.
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. It 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 the 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 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 the teachers, with guidance from a Yale 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 teachers and Yale 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’s 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.
The National Demonstration Project has now established a group of such Teachers Institutes from coast to coast. Three-year Implementation Grants have been awarded to: Chatham College and Carnegie Mellon University, in partnership with the Pittsburgh Public Schools; the University of Houston, in partnership with the Houston Independent School District; the University of New Mexico, in partnership with the Albuquerque Public Schools; and the University of California at Irvine, in partnership with the Santa Ana Unified School District. At each site the magnitude and the pattern of needs and resources differ from those in New Haven; and yet at each site significant opportunities exist for devising an appropriate scope and local strategies that, without departing from the basic principles of the Teachers Institute, can meet those needs.
In the second year of these Implementation Grants, it is already clear that the approach of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute can be adapted to such sites. Teachers Institutes now exist in cities much larger than New Haven, and 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 have 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.
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A meeting of teachers and directors of the five Teachers Institutes in the Faculty Room of Connecticut Hall on Yale's Old Campus, July 1999.
Within these Institutes the teachers are finding a greater creative responsibility for their own curricula, and they are finding an opportunity to exercise leadership and judgment in sustaining the program of seminars that provides a continuing professional development. The university faculty members are also recognizing more fully their responsibility for teaching at all levels in their own communities. As this occurs, both the school teachers and the university faculty members are discovering their true collegiality in the ongoing process of learning and teaching. And they are realizing 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 existing Teachers Institutes serves an urban school district that enrolls students who are mainly from low-income communities and the majority of whom are members of ethnic or racial minorities. In New Haven 57 percent of the students in the district are African-American and 28 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 is already showing in four different cities larger than New Haven
• that a Teachers Institute serving approximately 20 schools that enroll predominantly minority students can be rapidly inaugurated;We hope that on its completion the National Demonstration Project will have made amply clear the importance of the principles upon which these Institutes are based. We also hope that it will have 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.
• 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.
During 1997, with the support of a Planning Grant from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute had explored the feasibility and desirability of establishing new Teachers Institutes at a number of sites. The Planning Team assisting in this effort included James R. Vivian, Director of the Institute; Carla Asher, Program Officer, DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund; faculty members from Yale University who had led Institute seminars; teachers and an administrator from the New Haven School system who had been Institute Fellows; and teachers, faculty members, and administrators drawn from the Albuquerque, New Mexico school system, the University of California at Irvine, and the University of Michigan. The Teachers Institute compiled a preliminary list of hundreds of schools and colleges from which, since 1978, it had received requests for assistance. It then surveyed 33 sites to determine their interest in adapting the Institute approach, sending to each both printed materials and videos to explain the nature and process of the Institute. It also developed a list of categories within which adaptations of the Institute should fall. Visits were then made to five sites in order to communicate the nature of the National Demonstration Project, to clarify and amplify the Institute’s understanding of the issues involved in adapting its model, and to begin to assess the desirability and feasibility of participation by those sites.
Those visits and correspondence with additional sites led the Planning Team to conclude that the time was right for the establishment of several demonstration projects committed to the principles of collaboration that the Institute had developed over the previous two decades. The Institute therefore proposed to the Fund in October 1997 a four-year project that would constitute a major step toward the nationwide establishment of such Teachers Institutes. The Planning Team helped to prepare a Request for Proposals that would specify the criteria essential to the Institute approach, which would have to be met by any adaptation. Institute staff also developed the financial requirements and expectations that would be part of the Request for Proposals. The Institute’s proposal to the Fund envisaged that, on the basis of proposals for eight-month Planning Grants, a National Panel would recommend to the Director of the Institute five or six sites that seemed most likely to deserve subsequent three-year support and that should therefore receive Planning Grants. During the balance of 1998 the Institute would work closely with those sites, providing a variety of assistance. There would be a July Intensive Session with National Seminars and other meetings to make possible first-hand experience of the Institute’s policies and procedures.
Three-year Implementation Grants would then be awarded to three sites, by the same procedure as before. Those sites would work closely with the Institute during the period from 1998 through 2001 as they prepared and launched their own partnerships and their own annual seminars. They would maintain the Institute’s basic principles but would adapt their scopes and strategies to fit their own resources and the needs of their specific locations. The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute would collaborate with the new Teachers Institutes to provide continuing Directors’ meetings, a National Steering Committee of teachers, and a University Faculty Advisory Committee, as well as another July Intensive Session in 1999, and three October Conferences in 1999, 2000, and 2001 to share the ongoing challenges and results.
Because the ground would be prepared for a self-sustaining organization at each of the demonstration sites, they could be expected to continue their programs after the completion of the Grant period. The National Demonstration Project would not only benefit the teachers and students in those communities; it would also establish a potentially expandable network of Teachers Institutes that should have a significant impact upon education reform throughout this nation. The entire process would be documented by persons at the Teachers Institute and at the demonstration sites, and by an external evaluation to be commissioned by the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund.
After the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute was awarded the four-year Implementation Grant by the Fund in March 1998, it invited fourteen sites to submit proposals for 8-month Planning Grants. It also activated an Implementation Team, drawn from its Planning Team, which consists of Yale faculty members, New Haven teachers, and New Haven school administrators. The Implementation Team was charged with making further site visits during the term of the Grant and assisting with the organization of the National Seminars and the holding of other sessions in New Haven. In April, at a voluntary Information Session in New Haven, the Teachers Institute offered further explanations of its policies and procedures. In June a National Panel considered the applications for Planning Grants. On recommendation of the Panel and on the advice of the Program Officer from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, the Institute awarded Planning Grants to five applicants. It then asked the sites that received Planning Grants to send teams comprised of a Planning Director, university faculty members, and teachers to the July Intensive Session in New Haven. During this ten-day event three National Seminars, other meetings, and written projects for Planning Directors and university faculty members enabled each site to assess the relevance of the New Haven experience to its own needs and resources.
In December, again on recommendation of the National Panel and on the advice of the Program Officer of the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, the Teachers Institute awarded Implementation Grants to the four partnerships that had applied for them. The inclusion of four sites, instead of the three originally envisioned in the Teachers Institute’s proposal to the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, was made possible in part by a supplementary grant of $150,000 by the McCune Charitable Foundation. These new Teachers Institutes had all committed themselves to the basic principles of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, as set forth in the Request for Proposals and repeated in slightly condensed form in the Appendix to this brochure. They offered their first annual cycle of seminars in 1999, and the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute began to work with them on their plans for the coming years. In 1999 all five Institutes came together in New Haven for a January Orientation Session, another July Intensive Session (on this occasion with four National Seminars), and an October Conference to share their various areas of major accomplishment. In 2000, the new Institutes are offering their second annual cycle of seminars. All five Institutes are coming together in October for a second Annual Conference to share their experiences.
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Panel Discussion at the First Annual Conference in New Haven, October 1999.
Each of the five Teachers Institutes now established has a distinctive pattern of needs and resources. Each is at a somewhat different stage of development and illustrates a somewhat different pattern of relationship to local resources, institutional apparatus, and state mandates. Each may therefore serve as a somewhat different example for the establishment of Teachers Institutes elsewhere in the United States. All four of the new Teachers Institutes are serving school systems that are considerably larger than that of New Haven, and each must also deal with certain of the serious problems associated with low-income communities and a high proportion of racial and ethnic diversity. They illustrate a variety of institutional arrangements. 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. In contrast to the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, the new Teachers Institutes will show how a professional development program in the humanities and sciences can exist in harmony with a school or department of Education. They also illustrate different ways of providing for a full-time directorship, and they are adopting an array of different scopes and strategies directed toward having a significant impact upon a large school district. The following sections of this brochure will provide basic information about each Teachers Institute, sketch the programs being carried out during 2000, and describe more fully the arrangements for communication, dissemination, documentation, and evaluation.
The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute brings the resources of Yale University to an entire school district in which 44 schools serve nearly 20,000 students. More than 60 percent of the students come from families receiving public assistance, and 85 percent are either African-American or Hispanic. There are about 1,000 teachers eligible for participation in the Institute. During its twenty-two years of existence, the Institute has offered 143 seminars to 522 individual teachers, many of whom have participated for more than one year. Thus far the teachers have created 1,286 curriculum units. Currently, 33 percent of New Haven high school teachers of subjects in the humanities and sciences, 33 percent of transitional school teachers, 30 percent of middle school teachers, and 12 percent of elementary school teachers have completed successfully at least one year of the Institute. Over the years, a total of 110 Yale faculty members, about half of whom are current or recently retired members of the faculty, have participated in the Institute by giving talks or leading one or more seminars. The founding Director of the Institute is James R. Vivian.
For the duration of the Grant from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute will have a dual relationship to the four other Teachers Institutes. It is both monitor of the Grant and a senior colleague. It offers technical assistance to the other Teachers Institutes, convenes the October Conferences, 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. 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.
In 2000, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute offered seven seminars for 62 teachers: “Sound and Sensibility: Acoustics in Architecture, Music, and the Environment” (Robert E. Apfel, Robert Higgin Professor of Mechanical Engineering); “The Chemistry of Photosynthesis” (Gary W. Brudvig, Professor of Chemistry); “Women Writers in Latin America” (Sandra H. Ferdman-Comas, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese); “Bioethics” (Arthur W. Galston, Eaton Professor Emeritus of Botany and of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology); “Crime and Punishment” (Ian Shapiro, Professor and Chair of Political Science); “Constitutional and Statutory Privacy Protections in the 21st Century” (Rogers M. Smith, Alfred Cowles Professor of Government); and “Ethnicity and Dissent in American Literature and Art” (Brian J. Wolf, Professor and Chair of American Studies and Professor of English).
|Director:||James R. Vivian|
|address:||Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
53 Wall Street
P.O. Box 203563
New Haven, Connecticut 06520-3563
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National Demonstration Project Implementation Team
meeting, New Haven, July 1999.
The Pittsburgh Teachers Institute brings the resources of Chatham College and Carnegie Mellon University to a selected portion of a school district with 97 schools serving 39,000 students. Chatham brings to the collaboration with the Pittsburgh Public Schools the strengths of a small liberal arts college; Carnegie Mellon brings those of a university with a strong program in the sciences. Both institutions have previously worked with the schools—Carnegie Mellon, for example, sponsoring a program in the teaching of science, and Chatham maintaining a program in teacher certification. This is the first occasion, however, when the two institutions have collaborated on a project in partnership with the schools.
This Teachers Institute works with 20 elementary, middle, and high schools, representing the three regions of the district, which have volunteered to take part. It seeks to ensure that all curriculum units adhere to the academic standards and core curriculum of the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Helen Faison, an experienced teacher and school administrator, a former chair of the Education Department at Chatham College and a former interim Superintendent of Schools, serves as Director.
In 2000, this Institute offered six seminars for 48 teachers: “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).
|Director:||Helen S. Faison|
|address:||Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15232
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Pittsburgh Teachers Institute team meeting in New Haven, July 1999. (Clockwise from left: Verna Arnold, Carol M. Petett, Patricia Y. Gordon, Margaret McMackin, Helen S. Faison, James Davidson, Elizabeth Roark, and John Groch.)
In the fourth largest city in the United States, the Houston Teachers Institute brings the resources of the University of Houston to the Houston Independent School District, where 280 schools serve 212,000 students.. The Houston Teachers Institute builds upon the experience of the Common Ground project at the University, directed first by James Pipkin and then by William Monroe, which assisted high school teachers in expanding the canon of literary texts that are taught in English classes. The late Michael Cooke, a Yale faculty member and participant in the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, had served as an advisor for that project.
The Houston Teachers Institute works with 20 self-selected middle and high schools enrolling 31,300 students to establish a program that will address the needs of an ethnically mixed student-body, a large proportion of whom are non-English speaking. Paul Cooke, who has been a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, serves as Director.
In 2000, this Institute offered six seminars for 41 teachers: “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).
|address:||Houston Teachers Institute
c/o The Honors College
University of Houston
Houston, Texas 77204-2090
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Houston Teachers Institute team members in New Haven,
July 1999. (From left: Front row: Daniel Addis, Jurrell Gilliam, William
J. Pisciella, Paul Cooke, and Ninfa A. Sepulveda. Second row: Joy Teague
and Natalie Martinez.)
To a selected portion of a district that serves 85,000 students in 122 schools and enrolls a high percentage of Hispanic students from low-income families, the Albuquerque Teachers Institute brings the resources of the University of New Mexico, the flagship state institution of higher education. The University has long worked with the schools through its Department of Education and a variety of teacher training programs.
The Albuquerque Teachers Institute seeks to focus upon the high attrition rate in the schools, and has therefore selected 21 middle and high schools where that problem is most serious. It often seeks to establish the relevance and interest of its program for both teachers and students by focusing on Southwest-related themes, and it aims to develop curricula that integrate content standards and rubrics for the assessment of student achievement. The Director of the Albuquerque Teachers Institute is Doug Earick, a veteran teacher of science in the Albuquerque Public Schools.
In 2000, this Institute offered six seminars for 51 teachers: “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).
|address:||Albuquerque Teachers Institute
2045 Mesa Vista Hall
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131
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Albuquerque Teachers Institute team meeting in New
Haven, July 1999. (Clockwise from left: Lorraine B. Martinez, Les McFadden,
Colston Chandler, Jennifer D. Murphy, Felipe Gonzales, Tom R. Mace, Douglas
Earick, Wanda Martin, Susan C. Leonard, and Aaron B. Chavez.)
To Santa Ana, a city with 51 schools 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 in a variety of ways with school systems in several neighboring districts, in large part now through its Center for Educational Partnerships.
The UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute focuses on 26 elementary, middle, and high schools that represent all four areas of the Santa Ana system. There is here a special opportunity to show that Institute curriculum units work well in a mainly Hispanic environment where the majority of students have little fluency in English. The Director of the UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute is Barbara Kuhn Al-Bayati, who has been the Liaison Officer in the Center for Educational Partnerships at the University.
In 2000 this Institute offered seven seminars for 70 teachers: “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).
|Director:||Barbara Kuhn Al-Bayati|
|address:||UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute
Center for Educational Partnerships
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, California 92697-2500
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UCI-Santa Ana Teachers Institute team meeting with
New Haven representatives, July 1999. (Clockwise from left: Elizabeth A.
Enloe, Heidi R. Cooley, Timeri K. Tolnay, Tyra H. Demateis, Barbara Kuhn
Al-Bayati, Thomas R. Whitaker of New Haven, Stephen D. Franklin, Mel E.
Sanchez, James R. Vivian and Patricia Lydon of New Haven, Thelma
W. Foote, and Sharon W. Saxton.)
This network of Teachers Institutes has already established an appropriate network of communication. A range of technical assistance, which includes site visits, meetings of the Directors, and advice on specific problems, is being provided to the new Teachers Institutes by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Each year the new Teachers Institutes provide reports, described in the section on Documentation and Evaluation, to the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. There is also lateral communication among the new Teachers Institutes and common work undertaken by all five Institutes.
The National Steering Committee, which consists of a teacher from each Institute, takes a major initiative in planning this common work and encouraging communication among teachers from the five sites. It is complemented by the National University Advisory Council, which consists of a faculty member from each Institute. There has been established an electronic Teachers Institute Faculty Forum to facilitate communication among faculty members from the five sites (firstname.lastname@example.org), and a similar forum is planned for the teachers. The National Steering Committee and the National University Advisory Council assisted a planning committee in arranging the October Conference in 1999 and will do so again in 2000 and 2001. Those Conferences provide opportunity for sharing of accomplishments and challenges across the sites. If additional funding can be obtained, the October Conference in 2001 and possibly another such Conference in 2002 could become national in scope, bringing together representatives from various sectors of the educational, funding, and policy-making communities. Such National Conferences would be an important step in disseminating the results of the National Demonstration Project and encouraging the establishment of a second phase of Teachers Institutes in other cities.
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Representatives of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute at the First Annual Conference in New Haven, October 1999.
The Web site of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute already makes available the publications of this Institute, including all of the curriculum units that have been written. Comparable Web sites have been established by other Institutes and so provide further links among them. A developing electronic network is therefore linking the Institutes more closely. If additional funding can be obtained, the opportunity exists for the establishment of a Web site dedicated to the National Demonstration Project as an entity. Such a Web site would be not only a communications hub for the work of the Project but also an important continuing means of disseminating its results to the nation. If other Teachers Institutes should be established, this Web site would be of even greater importance as a national center of information on university-school partnerships.
The periodical On Common Ground is potentially an important means
of disseminating the results of the National Demonstration Project.
Number 9, for Winter 2000/2001, will contain articles by persons from each
of the sites on some aspect of the process of establishing a Teachers Institute
and meeting the needs of an urban school district. If funding can
be obtained for further numbers, On Common Ground will be able to
provide a detailed account for a national readership of the opportunities
seized, the obstacles encountered and overcome, and the major accomplishments
of the four new Teachers Institutes. Such an account would be invaluable
in the attempt further to expand this network of Teachers Institutes.
Internal Documentation and Evaluation
Each of the new Teachers Institutes submits to the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute interim financial reports and annual narrative and financial reports. Each will also submit final narrative and financial reports. The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute submits to the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund annual narrative and financial reports, and will submit final narrative and financial reports, all of which will synthesize and assess the information provided by the sites.
These reports describe the scope, strategy, demonstration goals, and progress of the new Teachers Institutes. They include evidence that the new Institutes remain in accord with the basic principles of the Teachers Institute approach. They describe the curriculum units developed, the relationship between participating school teachers and university faculty, the nature and extent of leadership exerted by teacher-participants, the incentives for university faculty members and school teachers to participate, and the assistance from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute that has been needed, obtained, and used. They include an analysis of the participation of school teachers in Institute activities, using surveys and other instruments developed by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute and modified as needed to make possible comparisons across the five partnerships. They analyze the factors contributing to, and hindering, the success of the new Institutes, and the effects of those Institutes upon teacher empowerment, curricular change, and other issues central to school reform. They also give an account of the progress made toward funding the new Institutes beyond the period of this Grant. At least once during the Grant period, annual reports will also include surveys of the use of curriculum units by Fellows and non-Fellows in the school systems. The final report from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute will summarize the three-year demonstration, make clear the most important outcomes, impacts, and lessons learned, describe how the demonstration has changed and how we may address the issues it has posed, and indicate the plans at each site for continuing the partnership.
The DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund contracted with Policy Studies Associates, a research and social policy firm based in Washington, D.C., to evaluate the National Demonstration Project. The evaluation will examine the implementation of Teachers Institutes at universities and their partner schools participating in the project from 1999-2002.
The Fund is supporting the National Demonstration Project and its evaluation to accomplish two goals: to contribute to the professional development of teachers by supporting partnerships between universities and public school systems that draw upon the experiences of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute; and to gather information that will enable others to decide whether to build similar partnerships using their own resources. The Fund-commissioned evaluation will provide universities and public school systems throughout the nation with answers to questions that they are likely to have about the utility of the National Demonstration Project as a source of ideas that they could use to create Teachers Institutes in their communities.
Over the course of their work, researchers are focusing on examining and documenting the following:
• The experiences and perceptions of teachers who participate in the Institutes, as well as school administrators who interact with the Institutes;
• The recruitment process for participating teachers;
• The educational partnerships between the university sites and their partner-schools and districts;
• The benefits that teachers gain from participating in the Institutes;
• The cost of establishing a Teachers Institute;
• Additional information to assist other interested universities and school systems in establishing their own Teachers Institutes.
The expansion of existing Teachers Institutes in large cities may occur through a step-by-step process of scaling up, as more school teachers and university faculty become interested in participating, and as increased funding allows the offering of more seminars. A Teachers Institute may begin in this way to expand its scope of operation within a city. When the resources of a single institution of higher education are not adequate to meet the needs of a large school district, it may prove desirable to expand the partnership. There seems a possibility, for example, of expanding the partnership between Chatham College and Carnegie Mellon University to include other institutions in Pittsburgh. It also may be possible at some point for the Houston Teachers Institute to draw upon faculty from other institutions of higher education in Houston. But there are also opportunities for other kinds of expansion within a given scope. Teachers Institutes may wish to establish Centers for Curriculum and Professional Development in the schools, as has been done in New Haven, which may bring to a larger number of classroom teachers the work of Fellows in the Institute. Through such Centers they may wish to establish Academies in summer or after school, as has also been done in New Haven, in which teachers may collaboratively shape and showcase a curriculum for selected students on the basis of their work in the Institute.
There are also different ways in which new Teachers Institutes might
be established at other sites. Additional funding on a national level
could enable, in one or more phases, the expansion of the existing network
of Teachers Institutes. This process would make it possible for the
new Institutes to receive technical assistance and collaborative support
from those already established. Additional funding on a local
level might enable the establishment of a new Teachers Institute that would
be free-standing but would have the opportunity to affiliate itself with
the existing network. By either route or both at once, more urban
school districts and institutions of higher education might join together
to form a yet larger network of Teachers Institutes that could become a
major force in the reform and revitalizing of teaching and learning in
The following principles, fundamental to the approach that has been developed by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, are quoted with slight condensation from the Request for Proposals for Implementation Grants and Appendix B (“Project Reporting Guidelines”) in the Institute contracts. They are included here because they are the guiding principles for each of the four new Teachers Institutes. Although listed as separate principles, they are interrelated elements of an organically unified approach.
1) The new Institute links an institution or institutions of higher education to a school district (or districts) in which a significant proportion of the students come from low-income communities. It offers a distinctive plan for an adaptation of the Institute’s approach, addressing an educational problem that may be appropriately addressed by that approach. The size, scope, and emphasis of the adaptation depend upon the needs of the district(s), the educational resources available, and the expected funding.
2) A continuing, full-time director (or, if approved, two half-time directors) provided by the Institute serves as convenor, administrator, liaison between the district(s) and the administration and faculty of the institution(s) of higher education, and fund-raiser. The director reports to the chief officers of the institution(s) and the district(s), and is able to recruit faculty from various parts of the institution(s) of higher education.
3) The Institute is led in crucial respects by teachers in the district(s), who play a major and indispensable role in the planning, organization, conduct, and evaluation of the programs intended to benefit them and, through them, their students. They are involved in initiating and approving decisions with respect to seminars offered, within the scope determined as feasible and appropriate by university and school district administrators and the director. The seminars are special offerings designed to address the Fellows’ interests and needs for further preparation and curriculum development. The Fellows are not students in university courses. Rather, they are considered full members of the university community during the year in which they are taking a seminar.
4) There is a pool of teachers in the schools prepared to play a leading role in planning, organizing, sustaining, and evaluating the new Institute. They are responsible for recruiting other teachers into the program. There is also a pool of faculty members from the liberal arts and/or sciences in the institution(s) of higher education who teach at the undergraduate and/or graduate levels and who are prepared to lead seminars, advise in the shaping of curriculum, and endorse the curriculum offered by the Institute. If faculty members from departments, schools, or colleges of Education are involved in the Institute’s program, they should indicate their readiness to lead seminars that focus primarily upon “content” rather than “pedagogy.” All teacher-leaders and university faculty members should understand the distinctive nature of such collaborative work and should be eager and willing to participate in it.
5) Policies within the school district(s) pertaining to curriculum and professional development (as established by the state, the school board, the union, or specific administrators) must be conducive to the development of the Institute, or at least not incompatible with it.
6) The curriculum will consist of intensive long-term seminars in several disciplines on broadly defined topics (meeting over a period of months) in which the seminar leader and the Fellows will study and discuss certain common texts, objects, or places and each Fellow will prepare a substantial “curriculum unit” that he or she intends to employ in the classroom during the following year. This curriculum unit will consist of an essay on the material to be presented in the classroom and the pedagogical strategies to be employed, followed by several lesson plans, which are examples of those to be used by the teacher, and an annotated bibliography. The curriculum units may bear a variety of relationships to the general topic of the seminar, appropriate to the grade-level and the aims of the teacher. They will have immediate application in the classroom, and they will be consistent with the curricular guidelines provided by district or school that are to be followed by the teacher.
7) Participating teachers from the institution(s) of higher education and the schools are considered professional colleagues working within a collegial relationship. Seminar leaders and Fellows understand that all participants bring to the seminar important strengths, both experience and knowledge, with respect to the seminar topic and/or its potential relevance to the classroom.
8) Although the seminar leaders are primarily responsible for presenting to the seminar the “content” or “knowledge” of one or more disciplines, the seminar itself will at appropriate points involve consideration both of that content and of the procedures necessary to present it in the classroom. That consideration, to which the Fellows will bring their own experience, is important in establishing the collegiality in the seminar.
9) To strengthen teaching and learning throughout the schools, the new Institute must involve a significant proportion of all teachers within its designated scope and must therefore actively recruit teachers who have not participated before. The Institute must have a rationale for the designated scope and make clear how it will involve a significant proportion of the teachers within that scope.
10) Within its designated scope, the Institute encourages any teacher to apply who has a teaching assignment relevant to a seminar topic, can present a proposal for a curriculum unit relevant to that topic, and will be assigned to teach a course in which that unit can be used. It makes every effort to ensure that the pool of teachers applying to the Institute represents a cross-section of all eligible teachers. Its program should attract teachers regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, academic background, professional experience, and length of time in teaching.
11) In order to recognize the intensive, demanding, and professionally significant nature of their participation in the seminars, the seminar leaders will be provided with some remuneration, and the Fellows, who participate on a voluntary basis, will be provided with some appropriate honorarium and/or stipend. This honorarium or stipend for participating school teachers is not salary or wages and is therefore not to be viewed as subject to any conditions of employment.
12) The institutional and district administrations are committed to a continuing collaboration with each other during the Grant period on the basis of this plan and also to its extension beyond the Grant period.
13) There will be ongoing financial support from both the institution(s) of higher education and the school district(s). They are committed to provide or seek necessary supplementary funding for the duration of the Grant, and have plans to seek entire funding thereafter.
14) Because each new Institute is a “demonstration site,” making clear the advantages and difficulties of adapting the Institute approach to another situation, there will be an explicit and visible relation between the new Institutes and the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.
15) Each new Institute is committed to communicating with the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute and with the other new Institutes, and to disseminating their experience of the adaptation in various ways to other potential and actual Institutes across the nation. The means of communication may include personal visits, e-mail, news groups, online chats, text-based forums, etc., and will also include written accounts by the new Institutes for publication in On Common Ground.
16 ) The new Institutes are committed to undertaking at their own cost, in cooperation with the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, an annual review of the progress of the project. They assume responsibility for their continuing self-evaluation, in cooperation with the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. They will provide the staff, the Implementation Team of New Haven colleagues, and other documenters that may be sent by that Institute and by the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund with full access to their activities and their documentation, including school and university personnel and sites. Each new Institute should anticipate the possibility that significant failure to reach stated goals of the demonstration, or to maintain it in accordance with the conditions agreed upon, could result in the termination of the funding. Each new Institute will submit annual reports to the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute that provide:
• a systematic description of the new Institute and its activities, including ways that it has adapted the New Haven approach, the process by which it was established, how that process has unfolded over time, and the progress made toward the goals of the demonstration;Using surveys and other instruments developed by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, each new Institute will document: the number of teachers who apply; the representativeness of those teachers vis-à-vis the entire pool of teachers eligible to participate; teachers’ and faculty members’ assessments of the new Institute; and the classroom use to which teachers put the curriculum units. The new Institutes will work with the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute to make whatever changes in the instruments may be needed to adapt them so that the results will be comparable across the different demonstration sites.
• evidence that the new Institute is faithful to each of the basic principles of the New Haven approach;
• indication of the incentives at the new Institute for university faculty members and school teachers to participate;
• the cost of operating the Institute, set forth in detail as specified in the financial reporting requirements; a documentation of other funds allocated to the Institute; and the availability of long-term funding sources;
• an analysis of data on the participation of teachers in Institute activities;
• a summary description of the curriculum units developed by participating teachers, with information about the teachers’ use of the Units and any other outcomes of their participation;
• an account of the assistance from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute that was needed, obtained, and used;
• a description of the relationship between participating teachers and university faculty;
• an analysis of the factors contributing to, and hindering, the success of the new Institute;
• an analysis of the effects of the new Institute upon teacher empowerment, curricular change, and other issues central to school reform;
• documentation of the partnership’s collaborative work with the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute (including responses to questionnaires dealing with the July Intensive Session in 1999 and the October conferences in 1999, 2000, and 2001);
• an account of the progress made toward the goal of funding the Institute beyond the period of this Grant.
At least once during the grant period, an annual report will include a survey of the use of curriculum units by Fellows and non-Fellows in the school system. Each report will also include a summary that sets forth in brief compass the accomplishments and impact of the demonstration, the impediments encountered, the unanticipated outcomes, and the lessons learned thus far.
The final narrative report will summarize the three-year demonstration in terms of the items covered by the annual narrative reports and will then answer the following questions:
1. What do you think are the most important outcomes, impacts, and lessons learned from this project?
2. How has it changed the way in which your institution or other institutions may address these issues?
3. What plans do you have for continuing the partnership at your site?
4. Are there any other observations or reflections that you would now like to make about your partnership’s work under this grant?