Big Federal Grant For Small Residency Program

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Know anyone who comes out of UTEP?  Think they're any good?  Well, this week drinks are on them.  The small six year-old teacher preparation program has just received over $11M from the USDE to expand and improve its efforts to prepare teachers for urban classrooms.  The program features careful recruitment and selection of candidates, residency programs, and in the case of UTEP a yearlong foundations sequence.  The program will eventually serve 300 teachers and teacher candidates and boasts a 90 percent retention rate over three years.  No word yet on how many teachers UTEP has turned out so far and what mix of schools have hired them.  See press release below.

UEI's
Chicago UTEP
Awarded Millions
from DOE to Refine and Expand

Building upon six years of successful urban teacher preparation,
the University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program
(Chicago UTEP) will enhance its teacher training efforts with the
assistance of nearly $11.6 million from the U.S. Department of
Education's Office of Innovation and Improvements through its Teacher
Quality Partnership Grants Program.
 
The Teacher Quality Partnership Grants Program was
created to help improve learning in struggling schools by boosting the
preparation and quality of teachers. Grants are awarded to programs with
demonstrated success that are committed to rigorous candidate selection
and preparation, recruiting diverse candidates, and offering extensive
post-graduate assistance for teachers. Programs following a "residency
model" design, in which aspiring teachers or "residents" train alongside
expert teachers for a full school year, were of particular interest to
the reviewers.
 
Unlike typical residency programs, Chicago UTEP requires its
students to successfully complete a yearlong foundations sequence that
offers multiple opportunities to study and experience urban schooling
before they apply to the residency program. After the residency year,
students engage in a final summer of coursework and teaching
experiences. During this final phase of the program, students are
assigned a coach from the program, who follows them into their early
years of teaching. All residents who choose to teach in high-needs
Chicago Public Schools for three years will receive a living stipend
through the grant during their residency preparation. Chicago UTEP
students also will receive three years of post-graduate support, which
is considerably more time than most traditional teacher training
programs.
 
Funding to Chicago UTEP will result in improved curriculum to align
with the needs of Chicago Public Schools, the addition of a robust
secondary mathematics and science certification program, enhanced
recruitment strategies to further improve the selectivity and diversity
of candidates, extended new teacher induction activities, and solidified
school partnerships. Chicago UTEP will work with the Consortium on Chicago School Research to evaluate
and measure the impact of their model. When the work supported by the
grant is fully operational after five years, the Chicago UTEP program
will be serving approximately 300 aspiring and novice teachers in
various stages of development.
 
"This is a really promising signal from the federal government
about our model and its capacity to train high-quality teachers for
urban schools," said Kavita Kapadia Matsko, Assistant Clinical Professor
and Director of the University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education
Program. "In addition to refining and expanding our program, this award
will give us an opportunity to carefully evaluate some of the key design
features of our work and their effects on new teacher practice and
retention rates, student learning outcomes, and the social organization
of the schools in which our graduates work." Kapadia Matsko is a former
Chicago Public School teacher as well as a graduate of the University of
Chicago Department of Sociology.
 
Currently, the retention rates for UTEP graduates dramatically
exceed Illinois and Chicago norms. Overall, 90 percent of UTEP graduates
remain in the classroom after three years. In order to support
continued retention, Chicago UTEP will intensify its post-graduate
assistance, with particular attention to helping their alumni develop
leadership skills. With the help of the grant, Chicago UTEP will cluster
its alumni, residents and clinical instructors (expert teachers) in
several schools to form cohesive learning communities that will lead to
optimal and continued teacher improvement.
 
"Before World War II and for some years afterward, the University
had a long and distinguished tradition of training primary- and
secondary-level teachers for both public and private schools, and the
new UTEP programs are a way for us to revive and enhance that
distinguished tradition," said John Boyer, Dean of the College. "No levels of
teaching are more essential for the welfare of our communities and our
nation, and it is particularly gratifying for us to provide strong
preparatory programs for our own College students, who want professional
careers in primary education and in secondary education in mathematics
and the natural sciences."
 
The Urban Teacher Education Program, a master's degree-granting
program, is part of the Urban Education Institute. UEI is the University of
Chicago's center for the development of innovative approaches to
confronting the challenges of improving K-12 learning in urban schools.
In addition to its teacher preparation program, UEI operates four
charter school campuses and the Consortium on Chicago School Research,
which is dedicated to undertaking groundbreaking research on Chicago
school reform.
 
"Improving the quality of teaching is essential to improving the
quality of children's lives," said Tim Knowles, the John Dewey Director and Clinical
Professor of UEI. "This grant award is an extraordinary opportunity for
the Urban Education Institute to continue to develop effective, quality
teachers that Chicago students deserve--kindergarten through 12th grade.
Equally important is the opportunity to create an exportable model for
how to do this well, relevant to higher education institutions and
not-for-profit organizations nationwide."

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  • from UTEP: The grant will allow us to expand in size for the
    elementary work and scope as we move into offering residencies
    for secondary math and biology preparation. We will also now
    be able to offer living stipends to our students...16 of our 54 graduates to date are employed by charter schools."

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