The New Teacher Project Chicago Teaching Fellows Chicago, Illinois Institution Comment Comments submitted by: Jamey Roberts, Partner, The New Teacher Project
The New Teacher Project (TNTP) launched the Chicago Teaching Fellows program (CTF) in partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in 2006. Fellows selected for CTF have strong content knowledge and meet Illinois State Board of Education requirements. Fellows are expected to have minimum GPAs, academic majors related to their desired certification area, pass basic skills and content area examinations, and also demonstrate the skills and experience TNTP believes fosters excellent, effective teachers for high–needs schools and subject areas. Since 2006, Fellows have completed certification coursework through university programs during their first two years in the classroom. In the fall of 2011, the Chicago Teaching Fellows program anticipates expanding its services to encompass the entire new teacher preparation continuum—recruitment, selection, district hiring support, training, and the recommendation for certification—by launching TNTP’s Practitioner Teacher Program (PTP). The centerpiece of the PTP is the Teaching for Results (TfR) curriculum which provides individuals who already possess strong content knowledge with the skills and techniques they need to be effective teachers. TfR emphasizes subject–specific teaching methods and coursework. Fellows take the seminar in their respective certification area. Subjects offered include ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Special Education. The Elementary Education and the Elementary Special Education TfR seminar series’ each include math concepts coursework. Each seminar includes a math content domain module that addresses topics specifically designed to help elementary school teachers design and teach math concepts. The Elementary Education TfR seminar also includes content modules in science, social studies, math and ELA specifically geared toward the methods for effectively teaching elementary school students. Fellows use technology tools and are able to see and practice effective integration of technology into instruction throughout the program experience. This embedded approach aims to support Fellows so they know how to find, evaluate, and use technology to make their own teaching practice optimally effective and to increase student achievement. Differentiating instruction is emphasized throughout the program experience. Fellows explore instructional strategies that meet the needs of all of their students, including English Language Learners. Additional resources are provided to participants to ensure they are prepared to help English language learners (ELLs) succeed including ethical/legal issues and misconceptions about teaching ELLs and best practices. Throughout the pre–service and school year, Fellows actively learn about and work with state standards that are specific to the class(es) they teach by incorporating strategies from Marzano’s Strategic Design for Student Achievement. They use standards to identify, implement, and reflect on student goals and instructional strategies. The seminars emphasize helping Fellows think critically about their content area and state standards so that they know what to teach and how to teach it. CTF sets annual goals around Fellow effectiveness, instructor quality, communication, and operations, to ensure a high–quality experience for Fellows and a strong focus on bringing in teachers to CPS who are driven to close the achievement gap for Chicago students. Progress toward goals is evaluated throughout the program experience, allowing multiple opportunities for staff and instructors to make immediate program improvements.