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 in History, Literature and Art, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics
On Tuesday, January 13, 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 2015 seminar offerings. The Institute’s teacher leadership, including school Representatives and Contacts from across the district, 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. The 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 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 brief presentations, followed by informal questions and discussion.
In 2015 the Institute will offer four seminars to participating New Haven Public School teachers:
“American Indian History, 1492 to the Present,” led by Ned Blackhawk, Professor of History and of American Studies
“American Culture in the Long 20th Century,” led by Matthew F. Jacobson, William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and History
“Physics and Chemistry of the Earth’s Atmosphere and Climate,” led by Steve K. Lamoreaux, Professor of Physics
“Big Molecules, Big Problems,” led by Andrew D. Miranker, Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
Teachers interested in applying to one of these seminars should read the full description of the seminar that is available from school representatives, who recommend teachers to apply. In addition to seminar descriptions, applications and principal review forms may be obtained from the representatives and contacts. Printed copies of the Institute’s 2015 brochure (including the schedule) are also in schools.
Completed applications and principal review forms are due to the representatives by noon on January 27. Seminars begin on March 3. The Institute encourages interested teachers to speak with their school colleagues who are representatives and contacts.
Partnership’s Curricular Resources Online
More than 1900 curriculum units that Fellows, in collaboration with Yale faculty members in some 200 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 for educational, non-commercial purposes.
About one third of the 2014 Fellows participated in the Institute for the first time; others participated for a second, third, fourth, sixth, eighth, tenth, or even in two cases a fifteenth and seventeenth time. Overall, more than a quarter of Fellows completed the Institute for at least the fourth time.
Teachers serving as the Institute’s 2014-15 school representatives and contacts have been disseminating the curricular resources while canvassing colleagues’ suggestions for seminar topics the Institute will now aim to address in its 2015 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, a permanently endowed academic unit of Yale University, is in its 38th year.