New Haven Public School teachers and Institute seminar leaders — members of the Yale faculty — gathered on Tuesday last week to discuss the program’s seminars, application process, curricular and professional development opportunities.
The following write-up was contributed by the program’s Josiah Brown.
Seminars in English, History, Environmental Science
On Tuesday evening, January 11, 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 2011 seminar offerings.
The Institute’s teacher leadership, including school Representatives and Contacts from across the district, hosted the event at Yale’s Rosenfeld Hall for their colleagues from New Haven’s elementary, middle, and high 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 in a teaching force of more than one thousand individuals.
In 2011 the Institute is offering four seminars to participating New Haven Public School teachers:
* “Writing about Words and Images,” led by Janice Carlisle, Professor of English
* “What History Teaches,” led by John Lewis Gaddis, Robert A. Lovett Professor of History
* “The Sound of Words: An Introduction to Poetry,” led by Langdon L. Hammer, Professor of English and of American Studies
* “Energy, Environment, and Health,” led by John P. Wargo, Professor of Environmental Risk Analysis and Policy
The Open House reviewed Representatives’ work in planning seminars that respond to the expressed needs of teachers, and of their students, in New Haven. Colleagues talked about the rewards and responsibilities of participating as a Fellow. The Yale faculty members leading the seminars each made brief presentations, followed by informal questions and discussion.
Seminar descriptions, applications, and principal review forms are available from the Institute’s teacher Representatives and Contacts in the schools. Printed copies of the Institute’s 2011 Annual Brochure (including the schedule) are also available in schools.
Applications, and completed principal review forms, are due to the Representatives by 12:00 noon on January 25. Seminars begin on March 1. The Institute encourages interested teachers to speak with their school colleagues who are Representatives and Contacts.
Some 1784 curriculum units that Fellows, in collaboration with Yale faculty members, have written for New Haven students since 1978 are available here. These materials address subjects from history, literature, art, language, reading and writing instruction to math, science, and health. The units are intended to challenge and motivate students, consistent with district curricula. All members of the community are invited to use these curricular resources for educational, non-commercial purposes.
A 2010 news release addressed the curriculum units Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Fellows wrote last year, in the context of evaluation findings about the Teachers Institute approach, online at: http://www.teachers.yale.edu.
Nearly half of the 2010 Fellows participated in the Institute for the first time. Of the 17 schools the Fellows represent, ten (10) schools have at least two Fellows each; six have at least three Fellows each. One school, Cooperative Arts and Humanities, has five Fellows, while two schools—Hill Regional Career and Nathan Hale—have four Fellows each. Betsy Ross, James Hillhouse, and Wilbur Cross schools have three Fellows each. Davis Street, Hyde, John Martinez, and Roberto Clemente schools have two Fellows each. Other schools with 2010 Fellows are East Rock, Edgewood, High School in the Community, King/Robinson, Mauro-Sheridan, New Haven Academy, and Polly McCabe. Four of the New Haven Fellows—from Betsy Ross, Career, Edgewood, and Wilbur Cross—were also in national seminars, among National Fellows from 13 school districts in nine communities in eight states.
Teacher leadership is fundamental to the Institute approach. In addition to participating as Fellows – including writing units for students – in seminars university faculty members lead, teachers shape seminar offerings through school Representatives. In the fall, teachers representing their New Haven schools canvassed colleagues to identify topics on which the program should offer seminars in 2011. Seminars respond to teachers’ requests for what is most useful to them and compelling to their students in addressing the district’s curricular needs.
Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM)
Regarding science and mathematics in particular, a 2010 Report to the President on K-12 STEM Education, released by the White House, cites the Teachers Institute in the following way (on pages 101-102 of the pre-publication version of the full report):
“A variety of programs attempt to bridge the gaps between public schools and the STEM professional community, but not all such programs provide teachers and schools with resources that are useful in their classrooms. Nonetheless, several programs demonstrate the potential for such connections to benefit K-12 schools. For example, Teachers Institutes, which began in 1978 in New Haven and have since expanded to cities across the country, pair universities and school districts, allowing teachers to identify the topics on which they would like to collaborate. University professors then guide these teachers through inquiry-based learning in a STEM subject area. … It is important that we find way to harness these sources of partnership and expertise in a committed, sustained way relevant to K-12 teachers and students.”