Enhancing the way we train teachers

This year, our administrators are adding a unique twist to the teacher development process.  They are visiting classrooms, not to evaluate teacher performance, but to watch the students – and see what they can learn from them.

As we work to continue improving the process of teaching our students, we must improve the way we train our teachers.  The district is working hard to evaluate how students are responding to various teaching approaches and what techniques can be used to help increase student engagement and retention. The federal Race to the Top grant, for which we will receive around $300,000 over the next four years, helps by supporting teacher development efforts.

An interesting approach currently used in a handful of school districts is to prepare teachers the same way we prepare doctors.   Boston Public Schools was one of the first to use this “residency program” approach.  Described as similar to “boot camp,” the Boston Teacher Residency program is run in conjunction with Boston Public Schools and funded with both private and government funds.  While the program is well-received by teachers, and 85% of its graduates stay in the classroom longer than teachers who have not gone through the training, there is still no data as to whether the program achieves the longer-term goal of helping students learn.  NPR reports on the program here.

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