40th Year of Partnership Brings New Institute Seminars

New Haven Public School teachers and Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute seminar leaders — members of the Yale faculty — gathered to discuss the program’s seminars, application process, and curricular and professional development opportunities.

The following account was contributed by the program’s Josiah Brown.

Seminars on Adapting Literature, Watershed Science—plus Talks on Those and Other Topics

On Tuesday, January 10, the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute held an open house for New Haven Public School teachers seeking to learn more about this program and its seminar offerings in 2017 – the 40th year of this partnership.  The Institute’s teacher leadership, including school Representatives and Contacts, hosted the event on the Yale campus for their colleagues working in both elementary and secondary grades in New Haven’s public schools.

The Institute is an educational partnership between Yale University and the New Haven Public Schools designed to strengthen teaching and learning in local schools and, by example and direct assistance, in high-need schools around the country.  Through the Institute, Yale faculty members and school teachers work together in a collegial relationship.  Established in 1978, the Institute is also an interschool and interdisciplinary forum for teachers to collaborate on new curricula.  Each participating teacher becomes an Institute Fellow and prepares a curriculum unit to be taught the following year.  Teachers have primary responsibility for identifying the subjects the Institute addresses.  This partnership is a way to support the district’s continuing effort to attract, develop, and retain additional effective educators as it builds capacity in a teaching force of more than one thousand individuals.

The open house followed representatives’ actions in the fall planning seminars to respond to the expressed needs of teachers, and of their students, in New Haven.  Colleagues discussed eligibility and the application process, the rewards and responsibilities of participating as a Fellow, and ways that participation can support teacher development at any stage of one’s career.  The Yale faculty members leading the seminars each made presentations, followed by informal questions and discussion.

In 2017 the Institute will offer the following seminars to participating New Haven Public School teachers:

    * “Adapting Literature,” led by Dudley Andrew, R. Selden Rose Professor of Comparative Literature and of Film Studies

    * “Watershed Science,” led by Peter A. Raymond, Professor of Ecosystem Ecology

Teachers interested in applying to one of these seminars should read the full description of the seminar that is available from school representatives, who advise other teachers about their eligibility to apply.  In addition to seminar descriptions, applications, principal review forms, and printed copies of the Institute’s 2017 brochure (including the schedule) may be obtained from the representatives.

Completed applications and principal review forms are due to the representatives by noon on January 31.  Seminars begin on February 28.  The Institute encourages interested teachers to speak with their school colleagues who are representatives and contacts.

Lecture Series for NHPS Educators

In addition to the seminars, the Institute organizes a lecture series for the Fellows and all other educators in the New Haven Public Schools.  This year, both of the seminar leaders – Dudley Andrew and Peter Raymond – as well as two other Yale faculty members will be speaking in the series (with the exact schedule to be confirmed).  Those other faculty colleagues are:

    * Emily Greenwood, Professor of Classics, whose interests span many centuries and historical and cultural contexts, from “Thucydides and the Literature of World War I” to Romare Bearden’s “Odysseus” series, among other reinterpretations of classical texts; and

    * John Roemer, E.S. and A.V. Stout Professor of Political Science and Economics, whose work was cited, for example, in a November 2016 New York Times article on inequality, race, and “racial hostility.”

The seminars and lecture series are, by design, available only to NHPS teachers – and indeed are one incentive to teach and remain in this urban public school district.  However, resulting curricular resources are open to everyone, for educational, non-commercial purposes.

Partnership’s Curricular Resources Online

Two thousand curriculum units that Fellows, in collaboration with more than 100 Yale faculty members in 220 seminars, have written for New Haven students since 1978 are available.  These materials address subjects from history, literature, art, language, reading and writing instruction to math, science, engineering, and health.  All members of the community are invited to use these curricular resources.

As detailed here, units that teachers developed as Fellows in the 2016 Institute seminars are among those online at this website. (http://teachersinstitute.yale.edu/curriculum/units/)

The 2016 Fellows came from sixteen different schools; in addition, Fellows from previous years are at schools across the district.  In 2016, eight of the schools had multiple Fellows – including Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, which had seven Fellows, and Engineering and Science University Magnet School (ESUMS), with five.  Two-fifths of the Fellows participated in the Institute for the first time.  Others did so for a second, third, fourth, fifth, tenth, or even in one case a nineteenth time.  Overall, nearly half of the 2016 Fellows completed the Institute for at least the third time, developing their and their schools’ teaching capacity.

Teacher Leadership, Locally and Nationally

Teachers serving as the Institute’s 2016-17 school representatives and contacts have been disseminating the curricular resources while canvassing colleagues’ suggestions for seminar (and lecture) topics the Institute will now aim to address in its 2017 offerings, to meet teachers’ and students’ needs across the curriculum.  Additional Institute roles include those of the seminar Coordinators, a subset of the teacher Fellows who provide teacher leadership, help maintain collegial rapport within the group, and serve as an admissions committee.

Teachers Institutes are educational partnerships between universities and school districts designed to strengthen teaching and learning in a community’s public schools.  The Yale National Initiative to strengthen teaching in public schools is a long-term endeavor to influence public policy toward teacher professional development, in part by establishing exemplary Teachers Institutes in underserved school districts in states throughout the country.  The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute is a permanently endowed academic unit of Yale University.
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