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Growing Our Own Teachers


... mastery of the required courses that are central to a liberal arts education. ... the program teaches demanding liberal arts and professional preparation courses, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Growing Our Own Teachers

Growing Our Own Teachers
The Need and the BenefitsKey Characteristics of
Effective Programs
  • Donald R. Moore, Ed.D.
  • Designs for Change

Definition of Target Participants
  • Programs aimed at preparing one or more of the
    following groups
  • to become teachers
  • Parents active in education (for example, general
    education parents, special education parents,
    bilingual education parents).
  • Community residents active in education.
  • Paraprofessionals (for example, teacher
    assistants or aides, school-community
    representatives, security guards, school clerks,
    bus drivers).
  • Focus On
  • Preparing these individuals to become teachers in
    the specific schools (or in the types of schools)
    where they have a long history of involvement.
  • Preparing teachers for hard-to-staff schools and
    hard-to-staff teacher specialties.
  • Increasing racial and ethnic diversity.

Characteristics of High-Achieving Inner City
  • High-achieving inner city schools carry out
    specific practices in five
  • interrelated areas (Five Essential Supports for
    Student Learning)
  • Effective School Leadership (from principal,
    teachers, school site council)
  • School Environment Supports Learning (discipline,
    student social development, physical environment
    and materials)
  • Professional Collaboration and Development
  • School Partnerships with Parents and Community
  • Quality Instruction

  • The school is a human system. All Five
    Essential Supports work together.
  • High levels of trust and collaboration among all
    adults (principal, teachers, school site council,
    parents, community) enable the Five Essential
    Supports to mesh together.
  • The quality of instruction is obviously critical,
    and competent teachers are critical to providing
    quality instruction.
  • However, quality instruction rests on a strong
    foundation in the other four essential supports.
    For example
  • Quality instruction is impossible if a weak
    principal cant recruit good teachers.
  • If teachers dont stay at the school, it is
    impossible to create a cohesive instructional
  • Unless a high level of trust and collaboration
    exists among school staff and between the school
    staff and parents, new teachers are prone to
    leave quickly (especially in low-income schools).

Chicago Has a Chronic Difficulty in Recruiting
Enough Minimally-Qualified Teachers Each Year
  • Year after year, Chicago reports a high
    percentage of the staff positions statewide that
    are filled by unqualified teachers.
  • As of November of this year, Chicago had about
    1,100 unfilled teacher positions.
  • A substantial number of additional positions were
    staffed by teachers who had a teaching
    credential, but not the right credential for
    their position (for example, regular teacher
    certification, but not special education teacher

Chicago Has a Substantial and Growing Teacher
Turnover Rate for New Teachers
  • Among teachers hired in 1993-94, 17 were gone
    after two years.
  • Among teachers hired in 2001-2002, 32 were gone
    after two years.
  • If trends continue, roughly 50 of teachers hired
    in 2001-2002 will be gone in five years.

Deeply-Rooted Job-Seeking Trends Among Teachers
  • 61 of teachers take their first teaching job
    within 15 miles of their hometown.
  • 85 of teachers take their first teaching job
    within 40 miles of their hometown.
  • New teachers generally accept teaching jobs in
    communities with the same demographic composition
    as their hometown.
  • Teachers who begin their teaching career in inner
    city schools show a strong pattern of migrating
    to more middle class schools and communities.
  • Compared with earlier generations of teachers,
    the commitment of current beginning teachers to
    remain in teaching at all is substantially more

High Economic and Educational Costs of Teacher
Turnover for Chicagos Schools
  • High turnover generates an unending need to seek
    to large numbers of new teachers.
  • High dollar costs involved in seeking and
    orienting new teachers (staff time and other
  • Diminished effectiveness of the individual
    teachers classroom instruction, since teachers
    dont reach maximum effectiveness until they have
    been on the job for about eight years.
  • A Novice Culture, in which a constantly
    changing school staff dont have enough
    experience to help each other.
  • Or a Veteran Culture, in which a core of
    veteran teachers keep to themselves and receive
    favored assignments. Thus, they make working
    conditions unattractive to new teachers.
  • Professional development and assistance for
    teachers has limited benefit, since many teachers
    who receive this help are soon gone.
  • Lack of collaboration and trust among teachers
    leads to hunkering down among veteran teachers
    and rapid departure of new teachers.

Some Reasons Reported by Teachers for Leaving
Urban Schools
  • Lack of parent support.
  • Poor working conditions (large classes, lack of
    books and supplies, etc.).
  • Weak support from the schools administrators.
  • Student behavior problems.
  • Disengaged students.
  • Lack of support in mastering the teaching
  • Pressure of high stakes testing.
  • Low pay or low rate of salary increase over time.
  • More desirable working conditions or pay in
    another school or school district.
  • Decided to leave the teaching profession.

Some Conditions that Cause Teachers to Stay in
Inner City Schools
  • Rachel Carson Elementary School as an example.
  • Low teacher turnover reduces number of teachers
    to be recruited and allows the school to be
  • School selects teachers carefully, to identify
    teachers who are committed to the school and who
    fit in with the schools philosophy and
    instructional strategy.
  • School administrators provide strong leadership
    in identifying and supporting new teachers.
  • High level of trust and collaboration among
    teachers. Teacher teams are critical to the
    schools operation.
  • Close ties with parents and community and strong
    parent-community support.
  • Exemplary student behavior and engagement.
  • Careful program for orienting and supporting new
    teachers (accessible mentor readily available).
  • Effectiveness in retaining teachers involves the
    effective organization of the school
  • as a human system. A specific program like
    mentoring is not enough in isolation.

Why Grow Our Own Teachers?
Sources of Evidence
  • Case study analysis of nine exemplary college
    programs that prepare urban adults to become
    teachers, human service professionals, and/or
    civic leaders on education issues.
  • Evidence about programs that prepare
    paraprofessionals to become teachers
    (particularly Breaking the Class Ceiling).
  • Evidence about practices for effective higher
    education for adults.

A Sizable Number of Active Parents, Active
Community Members, and Paraprofessionals Bring
the Following Key Assets as Future Teachers
  • Substantial history of direct experience with
    inner city students, families, schools,
    classrooms, and communities. No culture shock
    when they begin teaching.
  • An understanding of the strengths, as well as the
    needs, of urban schools and communities. They
    can become a bridge between schools and
  • An extremely high level of commitment and
    demonstrated success in completing a teacher
    education program, becoming a certified teacher,
    and teaching in urban schools for the long term.
  • A commitment to work with the most
    difficult-to-educate students (for example, the
    parent of a child with a disability who wants to
    become a special education teacher).

  • Performance in teacher education programs rated
    slightly higher than the average teacher
    education student.
  • Nine times more racially and culturally diverse
    than teacher education graduates nationally.
    Grow Our Own participants are 77 individuals of
    color, while teacher education graduates
    nationally are 8 individuals of color. Source
    Breaking the Class Ceiling.
  • Securing a teaching position typically means a
    major increase in salary and benefits for a Grow
    Our Own graduate, compared with the individuals
    prior earning. Thus, Growing Our Own teachers
    becomes an important economic development

Compelling Economic and Educational Advantages
  • At each stage in the process of becoming a
    teacher and then remaining in teaching,
    persistence has obvious economic and educational
    advantages for society. The more potential
    teacher candidates and teachers drop out at each
    stage in the process, the more the investment in
    preparing and supporting them is lost. The steps
    that require analysis are
  • College entrance up to admission to a teacher
    education program.
  • Enrollment in a teacher education program up to
    college graduation.
  • Completing certification to become a teacher.
  • Beginning to teach in a hard-to-staff school or
    hard-to-staff teaching specialty.
  • Persisting over a period of years in a
    hard-to-staff school or hard-to-staff teaching

  • More research is needed about the percentages of
    Grow Our Own candidates who complete each of
    these stages, as compared with the average
    college student. A good deal of research is in
  • Furthermore, research is needed on the
    effectiveness of Grow Our Own graduates as
    teachers, although there is compelling anecdotal
    evidence about their effectiveness.
  • However, the statistical evidence available is
    compelling. Consider just one part of the
    preparation process analyzed in Breaking the
    Class Ceiling
  • In large teacher education programs, only 30 of
    enrolled students typically graduate. Of these
    graduates, only 40 become teachers. Thus, for
    each 1,000 candidates who entered these teacher
    preparation programs, only 120 (12) will become
  • In a study of approximately 10,000 participants
    in 122 Grow Our Own programs, 89 of teacher
    education majors graduated and completed their
    teaching major, and 93 of these program
    participants entered a teaching career.

  • Thus for each 1,000 candidates who entered these
    Grow Our Own teacher education programs, 830
    (83) actually became teachers.
  • This roughly eight-fold difference represents an
    enormously productive return on investment in the
    education of Grow Our Own teacher candidates.
    Even though more research is needed, it is clear
    that Grow Our Own teacher candidates who enter
    teacher education programs are many times more
    likely to actually become teachers than the
    typical teacher education major.
  • Another major critical question is whether a high
    percentage of Grow Our Own teacher graduates will
    remain in inner city schools for the long term.
    Anecdotal reports from Grow Our Own graduates
    strongly indicate that they will. (Remember,
    Chicago is attempting to improve a crisis
    situation where 32 of new teachers are gone
    after two years.)
  • One piece of evidence supporting the likelihood
    that Grow Our Own teachers will remain in urban
    teaching for the long term is the fact that most
    teachers in the United States want to teach in
    the type of community in which they grew up.
    This evidence dovetails with many statements by
    Grow Our Own candidates and graduates about their
    desire to teach in their own community and to
    serve hard-to-educate students.

Key Characteristics of Effective Programs
  • The three sources of evidence described earlier
    provide strong evidence about the characteristics
    of Grow Our Own programs that are highly likely
    to lead to
  • Mastery of key competencies for becoming an
    effective teacher.
  • Successful completion of a teacher education
  • At one extreme, Grow Our Own programs have been
    established that make minimal adjustments in
    their typical teacher education program. They
    recruit the target students, but expect them to
    sink-or-swim in the traditional teacher education
  • At the other extreme, some programs (such as
    Project Nueva Generación) incorporate most or all
    of the key characteristics of effectiveness.

  • Based on program survey results reported in
    Breaking the Class Ceiling, for example
  • Only 28 of Grow Our Own programs reported using
    innovative teaching methods.
  • Only 42 of Grow Our Own programs reported using
    a cohort model.
  • The extremely high rate of program completion for
    Grow Our Own teachers reflects their strong
    determination to succeed, whether or not their
    learning experience embodies many of the Key
    Characteristics of Effectiveness.
  • Program completion and student competency can be
    further increased if most of the Key
    Characteristics of Effectiveness summarized below
    are actually incorporated into a Grow Our Own

Classes at Convenient Times and Locations
  • Classes meet at convenient times (evenings, on
    weekends, in concentrated two-week or summer
    sessions) to enable students to work part-time or
    full-time in a supervised work experience.
  • The ability of students to continue to earn a
    living while completing the program is a critical
    factor in making their participation financially

Financial Support
  • The program assembles student aid packages that
    draw on all available sources of standard
    financial support.
  • The program obtains additional needed support
    (for example, in the form of loan forgiveness for
    teaching in an urban school).

Maximizing Academic Credit for Past Experience
  • The program helps students gather evidence about
    past college coursework that meets course
    requirements for entering and completing college
    and for completing a major in teaching.
  • The program uses a recognized framework (such as
    the framework developed by the Center for Adult
    and Experiential Learning) to give maximum
    appropriate credit for past life experience (for
    example, experience as a paraprofessional is
    counted towards meeting classroom observation

In-Depth Admissions Assessment
  • Many programs require the completion of a high
    school degree or its equivalent, a minimum
    grade-point average for past college work, and
    minimum test scores.
  • However, the most effective programs evaluate the
    candidates past involvement as a paraeducator or
    active parent or community member in-depth.
    Demonstrated accomplishments and commitment are
    considered a decisive indicator of whether a
    candidate will complete the program successfully.

Cohort Structure
  • Students participate in the program as part of a
    cohort of 15-25 fellow students.
  • In some cohort structures, students take each
    course together, one course at a time. In other
    cohort structures, students begin the program
    together, but may move at different rates over
    time, and thus move into different courses.
  • In still another version of the cohort structure,
    students may be taking a variety of courses from
    different instructors along with students who
    are not part of a Grow Our Own program, but the
    programs students meet regularly to provide each
    other with academic and social support.

Strong Connection with Target Schools and
  • The program has a strong connection with the
    target schools and communities from which the
    programs students come.
  • This connection exists either because a core
    group of faculty in the university has built such
    a connection or because the university
    collaborates with a parent organization,
    community organization, teachers union, some
    other intermediary organization that plays this
  • Through this connection, the program is aided in,
    for example, student recruitment, social
    supports for students, student tutoring, and
    linking course content to school and community

Coherent Targeted Course of Study
  • Whether the program is offered by a single
    institution of higher education or through a
    collaboration among two or more institutions, the
    courses offered are all focused on meeting the
    requirements for becoming a credentialed teacher.
  • Students do not lose time and money taking
    courses that will not count towards becoming a
    teacher or retaking courses as a teacher
    education major that they have taken in their
    early college years.

Rigorous General Education CoursesCourses are
Tailored to Issues in Particular Schools and
  • If students have not already completed general
    education course requirements, the programs
    initial courses focus on the rigorous mastery of
    the required courses that are central to a
    liberal arts education.
  • The curriculum not only teaches the mastery of
    liberal arts requirements, but tailors the
    programs courses to issues that the teacher will
    confront in urban schools and communities (for
    example, social science courses focus partly on
    understanding the social organization of urban
    schools, communities, and families).

Coherent Curriculum for Individual Courses
  • The curriculum for each course is carefully
    specified in many effective programs, with some
    flexibility for individual instructors to
    customize the courses specifics.
  • The courses have an overall coherence that
    focuses on a set of learning competencies for the
    whole program.
  • The student is not simply put through a standard
    course-by- course curriculum
  • that is not coordinated among individual

Learning Methods Tailored to Learning
Competencies and Specific Course Objectives
  • The program departs from the traditional lecture
    approach. Teaching and
  • learning methods may include, for example
  • Group study, problem-solving, and projects as
    part of a learning team.
  • Active analysis of case study examples focused on
    specific organizations and young people.
  • Use of computers to gather information and to
    prepare attractive presentations of student work.
  • Role-playing and videotaping to master new skills
    (such as teaching and group counseling).

Students Are Treated as Active Learners Who Must
Reflect on their Own Learning
  • Adult students are challenged to identify
    long-term learning objectives for themselves, and
    to actively assess their own progress as they
    participate in the program. One method used by
    effective programs is to require students to
    create and regularly analyze a portfolio of their

Teamwork and Commitment Among Program Staff
  • Instructors who are committed to the programs
    goals volunteer to teach specific courses. They
    are willing to make individual courses part of a
    coherent overall program, as described above.
  • Instructors receive preparation for teaching the
    particular types of students enrolled in the
    program and for teaching the programs
  • For both full-time and part-time instructors, the
    program emphasizes that everyone is responsible
    for the students success through helping them
    with coursework, skill development, and social
    support. As the head of one successful program
    said, No one ever says around here, Thats not
    my job.

Emphasis on Student Skill Development
  • The program focuses on helping students master
    critical skills for reading, math, writing,
    speaking, listening, collaborating, and using
    computers and other technology essential for
    their future careers. Put differently, the
    programs students master the new basic skills
    needed for almost all careers with a future in
    the changing economy.
  • The programs primary approach to strengthening
    students basic skills is integrated into
    on-going course activities (developmental). It
    is not primarily remedial (that is, students
    are not drilled endlessly to teach them basic
    skills, in isolation from meaningful coursework).
  • Skill development is coordinated by an Academic
    Services Coordinator. However, all staff who
    work with students share responsibility for
    providing this skill development support.
  • Based on consistent advice from the exemplary
    programs, the program places a special emphasis
    on assisting students to improve students

Emphasis on Social Supports for Students
  • The program places a strong emphasis on providing
    social supports for students. A Counseling or
    Student Services Coordinator has a lead
    responsibility for providing counseling support
    to students who are experiencing problems in
    meeting the multiple demands of succeeding in the
    program, working, and raising a family.
  • However, all staff members also take
    responsibility for providing this social support.
  • Further, students are helped and encouraged to
    support fellow members who are members of their
  • The intermediary partner can play an important
    role in providing social supports for students.

Supervised Work Experiences and Focus on
Practical Applications
  • Students are typically required to participate in
    a part-time or full-time supervised work
    experiences (for example, as a school
    paraprofessional) relevant to the programs goals
    and to the students desired career objectives.
  • Each student has a mentor at their work site.
    Students document their work experience and
    reflect on it with their on-site mentor, the
    programs Career Services Coordinator, other
    faculty, and other students. The Career Services
    Coordinator maintains regular communication with
    the mentors at the students work sites.
  • Although the program teaches demanding liberal
    arts and professional preparation courses,
    courses consistently focus on practical
    applications for students current and future
    work situations. Courses combine academic rigor
    with practical utility.

Long-Term Support for Program Graduates
  • The program views the education provided to its
    students as an initial investment in developing
    effective teachers who will remain in
    hard-to-staff schools and teaching positions for
    the long term.
  • Thus, the program provides long-term assistance
    and networking opportunities, as graduates
  • Employment in paraprofessional and teaching
    positions during the program and after its
  • Further education to earn advanced degrees.
  • Positions of teacher and community leadership.

On-Going Program Evaluation and Accurate
Tracking of Program Graduates
  • A careful independent evaluation of the programs
    implementation and impact is carried out to
    document and strengthen the program. This
    evaluation assists the programs staff in
    refining their efforts as they proceed and
    documents the programs impact for external
  • The program documents students career paths,
    including subsequent education, jobs, and civic

Special Funding Supplements Support from the
Universitys Core Budget
  • Universities that carry out Grow Our Own programs
    drawing primarily on soft money have a poor
    record of continuing these programs long-term.
  • Programs that survive long-term use special
    funding to supplement a fair share of the dollars
    that they normally spend on a teacher education
    candidate. Programs that last implement an
    appropriate business plan from the beginning that
    doesnt assume permanent special funding.