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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seattle Teacher Residency Program

I have heard rumblings about this program and this press release does little to assuage them. 

The Alliance for Education, Seattle Public Schools, and the University of Washington College of Education on Oct. 24 announced the addition of the Seattle Education Association as the fourth partner in launching the Seattle Teacher Residency. 

Urban Teacher Residency United, (http://www.utrunited.org/ ), based in Chicago, is the national network of the highest-performing residency programs. UTRU Executive Director Anissa Listak said, “This is the first time we’ve seen a residency launch with this set of players at the table. It bodes very well for the success and efficacy of the initiative.” 


My first question is - why is the Alliance for Education involved?  This is NOT their area of expertise at all.  I have to wonder about their growing role in SPS which I find troubling.  

Urban teacher residency programs, pioneered over the last decade in Boston, Chicago, Denver and elsewhere, apply the medical residency model to teacher preparation. By blending classroom apprenticeship with aligned, graduate-level course work and an intensive resident/mentor partnership, residencies aim to accelerate student achievement through the training, support and retention of excellent teachers. The four anchor partners are engaged in planning and design work during the 2012-2013 academic year. The first cohort of 25 residents, matched with 25 mentors, will begin graduate coursework over the summer of 2013 and will start in SPS classrooms in September 2013. 

José Banda, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, said, “This partnership speaks to the power of collaboration in public education. A thoughtful, rigorous teacher pipeline initiative, informed by multiple stakeholders, will bring meaningful benefit to students across the district.” 



I have actually heard good things about the one in Boston but I wonder about TFA versus these new resident teachers.  Why have both?

In August, Dr. Marisa Bier was hired as the residency’s founding Program Director. “The mission of this project is to accelerate student achievement,” she said. “It’s tremendously exciting for Seattle to join the residency movement, and to do so in leading fashion with a uniquely strong, 4-partner anchor team provides a supportive foundation for achieving our collective goals of preparing and supporting high quality teachers in and for Seattle.”  

Okay, and who is paying for this?  No mention of funding.  Worth looking into.



21 comments:

mirmac1 said...

UTR has been around since MGJ. DeBarros and Teoh were ginning up the numbers to demonstrate "need".

UW UTR meeting

Here's another opportunity for Banda to demonstrate that he places the needs of students and families before the wants and wishes of DeBell and the Alliance. Seems that is not the case. More staff time and energy jumping through their Dam hoops.

Anonymous said...

If so many new teachers in urban schools ARE leaving after only a year or two-something that is a sore spot about TFA, then what is the objection to this program, which aims to stem that? And don't we WANT close, intense mentoring of new teachers in schools where there are many struggling kids? I thought I'd read that here.

This seems like the ANTI-TFA. Can you explain, Mirmac?

Wondering

Anonymous said...

I asked the good guys in Chicago about the program there. Awaiting reply.

-- Ivan Weiss

mirmac1 said...

This puts individuals without full certification, who have not demonstrated they have mastered the competencies expected in a certificated teacher, in the classroom with our kids. They will know Nothing about SpEd, Nothing about different-learners, Nothing about ELL. There is no student teaching with intensive mentoring. This is TFA without the offensive label and lucrative grant$$. The reference to the "TFA coursework" at UW is laughable; all that is is "just-in-time" Problems of Practice with some bi-weekly seminars thrown in. Alliance's Sara Morris only thinks one-year residency is required before full certification, like she knows this sh**.

I'll admit I'm biased. Anything she thinks is good, must be anti-teacher, pro-human capital.

Anonymous said...

Ok, next question. Aren't student teachers in front of our kids without certification as well? I know for an absolute fact that the certified teacher is not in the classroom at all times with student teachers-my daughter was in such a class. The student teacher might have SOME book learning about teaching, but not live experience. Sometimes, as in my daughter's case, that can be even worse than none (she's said, "but the books SAYS...")

Melissa's write up specifically mentions intensive mentoring. I would think having someone right there offering feedback and instruction would be a good thing.
But to each his own, I suppose.

Still Wondering

Jan said...

I guess I need to know more about it (plenty of wolves with woolly white coats have been trotted past us in the past few years). But if it truly acts like the medical residency program -- where residents arrive WITH substantive knowledge in advance -- and then "work their way up" through a highly mentored, structured program designed to turn them from walking medical encyclopedias into real doctors who can diagnose, oversee treatment, etc. -- that would be a good thing.
Residents get paid -- but not like regular teachers -- so you could deal with some class size issues by having two teachers share (and mentor) a resident, giving you an additional educator in the classroom. Done right, residencies expose doctors to a wide variety of experiences -- so you could set it up so that residents also cycle through special ed situations, work with behaviorally challenged kids, etc. Done right, this could go a long way to preparing classroom teachers to really step up to and work with SPED kids and IEPs. Again, it all depends on how it ends up being structured, but this COULD be a vastly superior program to TfA, for teachers who WANT to stay in the profession.

Optimistic said...

The high level of concern expressed in some of these comments is understandable considering the Alliance's recent history of promoting a reform agenda in SPS. But this can be a very different situation.

1. The naming of SEA as an official partner is promising. I'm sure that Sara Morris would prefer not to have them on board.

2. The UW College of Education is not united around U-ACT and TFA. In fact, it is quite divided. There are some good, sensible people in the college who see the benefit of a residency program and who will work to protect it from outside interests.

3. The residency model is completely different from TFA. If done right, it can provide significantly more support for beginning teachers than our current system. They get student teaching AND an additional year of mentoring.

mirmac1 said...

TFA claims it offers "intensive mentoring", it's part of their sales pitch. We see how that works. Someone like Tim Schlosser pops in maybe once a week starting after winter break, after he's done trying to place interns.

Seattle already HAS strong mentoring in place for new teachers. Unfortunately their time is being expended on a handful of short-term TFAers (nearly 1/2 gone after 1 yr).

The student teachers for my child were terrific. They got to know my child, listened and participated in IEP meetings, watched their mentor work with a child in a meltdown. Now at least works for SPS and I KNOW she will be outstanding.

I'll agree that there may be residency programs that are as good as TEPs. My bias is they are all better than TFA. But do we need more hoops when our kids lack books, space, technology?

Jan said...

I don't know, mirmac. I agree that we don't all want to wander off going "ooohhhh" every time a shiny new bauble rolls by, but I am not willing to discourage this program (yet), for a couple of reasons.

1. If what optimistic says is true, there could be real value in it. Think of what we know of the literature (from classically trained teachers, not TfA -- how the first few years are so overwhelming, and how steep the learning (and effectiveness) curve is -- and why we deplore it so much when some new teachers flame out after 3 or 4 years, just when they are (or should be) hitting their stride? If a well-run residency program moves those teachers further up that curve before their first solo year - AND gives kids the benefit of the residents and the mentor program in the meantime -- why is that not at least possibly (devil in the details, I know) a good thing?

2. We are constantly being criticized by those who want to run us off the ed reform cliff for being "status quo." We respond, rightly I think, that we are NOT. We need to pick our efforts carefully, because money, time, and energy are all finite, but just as I think there is HUGE room for state legislation to make room for more creative approach, innovation, alt, whatever-you-want-to-call-it variations on education, I also think we have to be open to teacher ed reform proposals that may have merit (see #1 above; but see "devil in details" also above.)

For all the reasons that I thought "school-run schools" (which is what charters were designed to be when Shanker supported them) were a good idea until it became obvious that they had been taken over by business interests and the harm vastly outweight their benefit, I think we need to be open and thoughtful about ways in which teacher education can be made better, for teachers AND kids. Who knows. Maybe a good, robust residency program will drown out and eliminate TfA in Washington. Boy, wouldn't I LOVE that!

seattle citizen said...

Who's paying? Here are recent Gates Foundation grants impacting Seattle area education. My guess is the first one, to the UW, but it could be part of the millions Gates funnels through the Alliance or LEV, who knows...
----------------------
University of Washington - November 2011 - Term: 3 years - Amount: $499,996
Purpose: to support the initial development, implementation, and evaluation of an innovative, practice-based model and related professional development tools for preparing and supporting novice teachers
--------------------
League of Education Voters Foundation - September 2011 Term: 1 year and 6 monthsAmount: $150,000
Purpose: to launch a regional teacher advocacy group supportive of the Excellent Schools Now Coalition goals
--------------------
University of Washington - August 2011 Term: 2 years and 7 months Amount: $249,290
Purpose: to understand the relationship between collective bargaining agreement provisions and the quality of new teacher applicants, distribution of teachers within districts, effectiveness of teachers who leave, and which teachers receive layoff notices
---------------------
Alliance for Education - October 2011 Term [significantly]: 2 years and 2 monthsAmount: $760,100
Purpose: to provide the Alliance for Education and its sub grantees, the League of Education Voters and the Alliance for Technology, funds over three years for Our Schools Coalition
--------------------------
Alliance for Education - May 2012- Amount: $250,000
Purpose: to support the establishment of Philanthropic Partnership for Public Education Fund IV
---------------------
Alliance for Education - October 2011- Amount: $300,000
Purpose: to support the Alliance for Education's work with Seattle Public Schools and the foundations that invest in the Seattle Public Schools
---------------------
Alliance For Education - Date: October 2012- Amount: $133,902
Purpose: to support coordination and improvement of college access and success services in Seattle.
----------------------
Alliance for Education - August 2011- Amount: $340,000
Purpose: to support intentional and focused collaborations between schools and community organizations
--------------------
Alliance for Education - August 2011 Amount: $110,000
Purpose: to support collection and analysis of data related to the impact of community based organizations on student outcomes
-----------------------
Alliance for Education - August 2010 Amount: $150,000
Purpose: to support planning for creation of a community schools system for the Seattle Public Schools
-----------------------
Alliance for Education - February 2010 Amount: $110,610
Purpose: to support a variety of essential organizational functions and programs for which there is no dedicated funding source, including Teacher Effectiveness, College Access and Success, Community Schools Planning, and Grants Management and Project Oversight
--------------------
Alliance for Education - November 2009 - Amount: $100,000
Purpose: to research options on how to increase collaboration between Seattle Public Schools and community-based organizations, and to build capacity at the Alliance for Education
---------------------
Alliance for Education -September 2009 Amount: $275,000
Purpose: to support efforts in Denny Middle School to promote more effective and efficient collaborations between the school and community-based organizations

seattle citizen said...

Let me just repeat this one, so everyone knows who is trying to buy teacher contract negotiations:

Alliance for Education - October 2011 Term [significantly]: 2 years and 2 months - Amount: $760,100
Purpose: to provide the Alliance for Education and its sub grantees, the League of Education Voters and the Alliance for Technology, funds over three years for Our Schools Coalition

whitney said...

Principals were sent the announcement of this agreement, which includes:

"After Year 2 (when Cohort 1 finishes), the project will be sustained by a mix of public funding, private philanthropy, AND DISTRICT BUDGET ALLOCATION."

"Members of the Launch Team:
Bree Dusseault
Tom Stritikus
Sara Morris
Jonathan Knapp
Marni Campbell . . .. "

The district has thus signed up to pay money to student teachers for the privilege of training them -- what a joke!

Since when has our district had any extra money to pay to educate student teachers?

Will these student teachers gain hiring preference over other, more qualified candidates, simply because the district has invested money in them?

Let's be clear -- these are not resident "teachers." These are first year trainees with no pre-requisite education courses, who want to be teachers and who want to earn $40,000 while they student teach. And our district is now on the hook to pay THEM for the privilege of training THEM? How much money is our district on the hook for with this program?

whitney said...

Principals were sent the announcement of this agreement, which includes:

"After Year 2 (when Cohort 1 finishes), the project will be sustained by a mix of public funding, private philanthropy, AND DISTRICT BUDGET ALLOCATION."

"Members of the Launch Team:
Bree Dusseault
Tom Stritikus
Sara Morris
Jonathan Knapp
Marni Campbell . . .. "

The district has thus signed up to pay money to student teachers for the privilege of training them -- what a joke!

Since when has our district had any extra money to pay to educate student teachers?

Will these student teachers gain hiring preference over other, more qualified candidates, simply because the district has invested money in them?

Let's be clear -- these are not resident "teachers." These are first year trainees with no pre-requisite education courses, who want to be teachers and who want to earn $40,000 while they student teach. And our district is now on the hook to pay THEM for the privilege of training THEM? How much money is our district on the hook for with this program?

mirmac1 said...

Whitney. I hear ya.

n said...

Everything gets so convoluted. That member list of launchers doesn't give me much faith in the outcome. As a union member, I'm wondering why I don't know about this from Jonathan.

If there is a union member (or rep like me) that has heard about this, I'm all ears (or eyes in this case!). Thanks.

And all that money going to Alliance for Ed . . . it just doesn't stop. Imagine how much that money could help children instead of promoting the ideas of rich people.

Anonymous said...

I believe someone asked about the Urban Teacher Residency earlier in the summer on this blog.
BTW It was a done deal BEFORE Supt Banda arrived.

--Old School Music

Anonymous said...

As someone interested in this program ad hoping to apply, I think it would be appropriate to add my two cents.

I see where you are coming from and understand the frustrations over programs like TFA completely. A lot of excellent teachers are ruined in the name of reforms and a lot of kids continue to go unserved and ignored.

I am an English major because that was the only thing I really wanted to spend four years studying. I'm passionate about the subject. It wasn't till it was too late to change majors that I realized I'd like to teach. I know for sure that I want to teach now. I know I'll be a good teacher. I want to stay in it for the long haul and stick with Seattle. I don't have undergraduate work I teaching, though, and there is no realistic way for me to get it.

At first I thought I would try to go through TFA. After doing more research, however, I didn't like what I saw. After conferring with some older folks in the teaching profession I discovered the residency model. So far I like what I see.

It gives adequate preparation, doesn't pull teachers out of union schools into charters and allows a building of respect an connection between intergenerational educators.

I have high hopes for it. I hope you can look past the history of awfulness in the past and see that there are people like me who want the same things as you who will perhaps be able to take advantage of this program.

Jesse

Anonymous said...

Please excuse the typos! I'm writing from a phone.

seattle citizen said...

Jesse,
Glad you want to go into teaching. It's a great profession.
I think I can narrow down my concerns about the residency to three points:
1) The Alliance, and Tom Stritikus, are attached to it. These two are BIG players in the "reform" industry and anything they touch has become suspect - outside interests ramming something down the throats of schools.
2) It flew in under the radar, without anyone, seemingly, knowing about it - Why? And why aren't current teachers and educators being asked for their ideas as the program is formed? Why isn't it collaborative (see #1 above)
3) Why/how can the district pay for someone's college degree? The district can't afford it, and it seems patently unfair to all those who struggle to do it on their own. If the public (me) is going to pick up the tab for a "resident," why aren't we picking up the tab for every teacher in the district?

Otherwise, I think it's a good idea - sort of an extended "Student Teaching" model (teacher wannabes already student teach) with mentoring, etc, sort of folded in...

Good luck in your pursuits, Jesse.

Jan said...

Here are my thoughts on your concerns, seattle citizen, though I am not sure they are worth much, given how much I don't know about how this program will work:

1) The Alliance, and Tom Stritikus, are attached to it. These two are BIG players in the "reform" industry and anything they touch has become suspect - outside interests ramming something down the throats of schools.

You know -- I think we are sort of stuck. These guys are "the players," at this point -- particularly stritikus. You are NEVER going to get a new variation on a teacher training program at the U right now, without Stritikus being involved. He is the Dean. That is just the way it is. Does that make everything suspect? Yes. Does it make everything "bad?" No, or at least I hope not. We don't have to invite these folks to dinner, but if educational "deals" are going to get done in Seattle or through the U, these guys WILL be involved! We have to be willing to accept this.

2) It flew in under the radar, without anyone, seemingly, knowing about it - Why? And why aren't current teachers and educators being asked for their ideas as the program is formed? Why isn't it collaborative (see #1 above)

This stinks, I agree. And yet -- these people couldn't collaborate if their lives depended on it. They collaborate on nothing, never have. So again -- the fact that there is no broad support for this is deplorable and suspect, but not fatal. NOTHING has broad support (unless it is something actually voted on -- and even then, maybe not, given the corruption of campaign funding and low turnouts in some elections). I arrive at the same conclusion as #1. It makes me suspicious, but if we wait until we get our definition of "public collaboration" out of the Alliance and Tom Stritikus, we will be dead long before we see it. Do you recall the anger of the other faculty when he rode his big TfA steamroller through the faculty deliberations? No collegiality there, certainly! And I don't for a minute think his erstwhile "colleagues" have forgotten that either!
3) Why/how can the district pay for someone's college degree? The district can't afford it, and it seems patently unfair to all those who struggle to do it on their own. If the public (me) is going to pick up the tab for a "resident," why aren't we picking up the tab for every teacher in the district?

We ARE picking up the tabs for every teacher -- for the "teaching" they do! And we pick up parts of the tuition tabs of every student at every public college or university. Done right, a "residency" program is a win-win. It isn't "free," because there IS cost to the training, and residents get paid "something" (though far less than credentialed professionals). But, you get their "work" in classes, their enthusiasm, their commitment, their talent, their time with kids. At hospitals, residents learn a ton, but they also DO a ton.

So -- while I agree with you that there is reason to suspect bad stuff coming from the CoE (and Stritikus) because we have a history of bad stuff to date, there is also something to be said for looking harder at whether this program can deliver value for its cost -- more adults "teaching" kids, and better teacher training, so that a teacher's "first" year is more like what a current teacher's "second" or "third" year would be like.

Anonymous said...

I just looked in to the Seattle Teacher Residency program, but I was told that you have to be a US citizen, being a US resident is not acceptable. Does anyone know the reasons for this requirement?

I am eligible to apply for citizenship, but it is $680.00 I do not have right now.I am disappointed that I will miss out on this opportunity.