After a Long Summer, We’re Reflecting on the Power of Talented People
October 30, 2017
The summer of 2017 was unlike any in recent memory. In recent weeks, thousands of American students, parents, teachers, and leaders have returned to school amid the chaos of natural disasters—if they can return to their schools at all. Thousands more spent their summers shaken by man-made disasters engineered by political leaders who don’t value the lives of many millions of Americans. It can be challenging to celebrate the progress being made in public school systems, but when I take a moment to step back and reflect, I'm reminded that uncertain times often create space for fresh thinking and new approaches.
At TNTP, celebrating public schools means celebrating people—the students we serve, and the adults who help them pursue their goals. In practice, that means that as a key part of our work in talent, academics, policy, and community engagement, we spend thousands of hours every year helping public school systems across the country recruit, train and support the talented teachers and leaders they need to make sure their students have a great experience at school every day.
We've long known that talented people are some of the most important school-based factors in student achievement. What we're beginning to understand—and what research confirms—is how important it is that teachers and leaders come to the profession from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. In the words of Jose Romero, a talented high school senior who interned at TNTP this summer, "Learning from someone who reflects who you are is one of the best things a kid can experience."
Unfortunately, as we survey the field of education, we see a profession surrounded by unnecessary barriers to entry— literacy tests, seat time requirements, and more—that tell us nothing about whether an adult is prepared to fulfill their most important role in school: helping students learn. That's why we've spent years tailoring an approach to teacher and school leader preparation that certifies only the talented people who have proven, with real students and teams of teachers, that they can deliver the challenging lessons and instructional vision that our schools need to help all students succeed.
Today we're proud to share some results from our Summer 2017 training programs. From coast to coast, TNTP has so far helped prepare 1,800 teachers and 66 leaders. They've all passed our rigorous performance screening—which predicts effectiveness in schools and classrooms—and have demonstrated that they are ready for success in the communities where they are needed most. These talented people are entering the profession from all walks of life—and the majority are teachers and leaders of color whose experiences and perspectives often resonate powerfully in the communities they serve.
Congratulations to all. We look forward to watching—and learning from—everything you achieve with your students.
Learn more about our teacher and leader training programs in the slideshow below, featuring images shared on social media by participants across the country.
In June, Dallas ISD welcome 118 teachers to its Compass Alternative Certification Program, a pathway designed for professionals who are ready to pursue a new career in education. Over the course of their summer training, 97 percent of program participants successfully demonstrated their content mastery and their ability to deliver quality instruction on day one. 63 percent of those who completed training are teachers of color who are ready to make an immediate difference in Dallas school communities.
Photo Credit: @KelveyO
Behind every talented teacher team is a visionary school leader with the instructional vision and management skills it takes to inspire a school community. Our PLUS (Pathways to Leadership in Urban Schools) residents began their summer pre-service training in June in districts across the country. In Kansas City, fifteen PLUS residents began summer training, and 86 percent demonstrated their readiness to lead in the fall. 77 percent of those who completed their training are school leaders of color whose life experiences can help them build stronger relationships with teachers and families.
Photo Credit: @JRERussell
Camden PLUS celebrated its fourth school leader cohort in June. One hallmark of the PLUS experience is the sense of solidarity among cohort groups, giving residents a community of like-minded leaders who learn together—and grow together—over time. 100 percent of this year's Camden PLUS cohort successfully completed their training. 69 percent are school leaders of color. Across all of our PLUS sites in 2017, TNTP prepared 66 school leaders for new roles this fall—61 percent of whom are new school leaders of color. "I believe children are the largest underdeveloped resource we possess as a nation," says 2016-2017 cohort member Courtney Rutledge. "I want to leverage my passion, experience, and skills to redefine schools as the center of the community."
Photo Credit: @DrTonyaHorton
One of our top priorities is helping school districts identify, recruit and find talent in the classrooms and subjects they need most, especially in hard to fill areas like special education. In June, Indianapolis Teaching Fellows discussed the potential barriers to effective co-teaching and establishing a vision for success. "I believe we had some of the best support you could ask for this summer," said one Fellow. "I know that every person who was a part of this was there to support me and did everything in their power to help."
Photo Credit: @SpecialEd_IPS
Specialized roles require unique support and training, and our leaders and coaches are equipped to give teachers the tools they need to ask the right questions and improve their students' experiences in class. In this workshop, Indianapolis Teachers Fellows discuss special education accommodations and modifications. In the words of one Fellow, "I think this has been one of the most helpful and rewarding training programs I've ever been through. I know it will be difficult and there is still so much to know, but I feel much more optimistic about being a first-year teacher."
Photo Credit: @SpecialEd_IPS
We know that delivering challenging and inspiring lessons is about more than just classroom management and teacher moves—it's about mastering the academic content students need to succeed. One of the best ways to help aspiring teachers see what's possible in the classroom is to immerse them in the content they will teach, guided by local experts—and with visits from some of the best teachers in the country.
In addition to their regular instruction and coaching, the 48 aspiring teachers in the Nevada Teacher Corps visited with the 2017 Fishman Prize winners, including Joshua Martinez who delivered a mini-lesson on the power of rigorous and relevant English Language Arts instruction. One Fellow reflected on the power of studying teacher moves and academics in tandem: “I really appreciate how our instructor modeled techniques that we can apply right away to our classroom—while also helping us engage with important content."
Photo Credit: @TNTP