Recently, while leading a Friday morning seminar with Project Inspire’s fourth cohort of teacher-residents, I heard some valuable feedback. Recent classroom observations revealed that, during instruction, many of the residents were consistently glancing toward the clinical instructor (their mentor) for approval during the lesson. Of course, the students pick up on these subtle, nonverbal cues, and we were concerned about any perception of the resident as inferior. So, it was suggested that residents, when uncertain, let the students know that: “Just as you as students turn and talk to one another about your ideas, we as teachers sometimes do the same. We also learn by sharing by our ideas with one another.” Sounds simple enough, right? However, I would wager that students rarely observe such open-ended dialogue among teachers.
We need a revolution in how we as a society think about teaching; it should be elevated as a craft that our most compelling and creative thinkers yearn to practice. I believe that the re-branding of teaching starts in the classroom, where young students develop those lasting impressions of teaching. In order to help our students appreciate the complexity and beauty of teaching, we need to redefine students’ strong misconception that teachers must be perfectly polished distributors of smart-sounding information, and I would argue that teacher residency provides the means for redefining and elevating the profession.
Recently, Ronald Thorpe, president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, wrote an article that embraced residency as an opportunity to transform teacher preparation. Residency, he points out, has transformed the medical practice throughout the past century, by driving the following changes in practice:
Those of us who work in teacher residency strive to replace the word “doctor” in the sentences above with the word “teacher.” Project Inspire, Chattanooga’s urban math/science teacher residency, provides those with STEM majors and a passion for teaching access to the transformative opportunities that Thorpe is discussing. Project Inspire residents teach for a full year in a middle- or high-school setting alongside an experienced clinical instructor—grounding all learning from master’s level coursework within the context the classroom. Project Inspire residents and alumni are also working within the context of a team–whether collaborating with other residents at the training site, working alongside a content-specific coach as a program graduate, or joining their entire cohort for regular resident and alumni seminars. Finally, program graduates are consistently “paying it forward,” improving their own craft by opening up their classroom to current residents and their fellow teachers.
The retention of great teachers in the classrooms where they are needed begins with the preparation of those teachers. Project Inspire offers its residents and graduates an open invitation to dream, to be a real and meaningful part of the transformation of a school. We as teachers sometimes need to turn and talk; we can keep our brightest minds in this profession by allowing them to see the craft for the pure and collaborative wonder that it is.
If you are interested in joining Project Inspire as a math or science teacher-resident, please visit projectinspiretn.org. Candidates and interested community members are also encouraged to attend the next Project Inspire MeetUp on November 25 at 5:00 pm at PEF, 100 E. 10th Street, 3rd floor. Please contact Erin Harrell for more information.
- Mark Neal, Director, Project Inspire
Mayor Andy Berke poses with the Boys Leadership Summit organizers Temus Terry, Chris Ramsey, and Stacy Lightfoot.
The 5th Annual Boys’ Leadership Summit (BLS) was held on November 15, 2014. BLS targeted males in grades 6-12 and served as an opportunity for males to learn with and from each other. Keynote presenters included community leaders as well as a young man who has attended all BLS summits. Breakout sessions included warm-up icebreakers where the co facilitators (college men and seasoned men) created atmospheres for open dialogue and in-depth discussions on how to become successful and productive adults. The Summit was designed to help attendees learn to cope with issues and problems facing youth today.
The young men – almost 200! – were pleased with how the day went: comments included, “I loved everything,” “I plan on attending yearly,” and “I found the togetherness most valuable.”
PEF was proud to be a partner in this effort!
- Janice Neal, Program Associate, College & Career Success
Through a partnership with Fund for Teachers, PEF offers teachers in Hamilton and Bradley County fellowships to travel in the U.S. or across the globe in search of cultural enrichment, new teaching methods and fun and exciting ideas for the classroom. Applications are now available and must be completed by Thursday, January 29, 2015, 5:00 pm CST.
Take a look at these videos from our Fellows:
Interested in applying, but need some guidance and support? Attend a workshop!
Sessions will be led by former FFT Fellows who can give you first hand advice and insider info. You will get lots of help with your application. If these aren’t convenient, try a Fund for Teachers webinar.
Chattanooga sessions (PEF, 100 E 10th Street, 3rd Floor): RSVP to email@example.com
Cleveland sessions (BCPEF’s STaR Center, 5005 N. Lee Hwy.): RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, contact Leslie Graitcer, Fund for Teachers coordinator.
In 2010, a group of men from various organizations (e.g. fraternities, 100 Black Men, Shriners, Masons, service organizations, etc.), with an interest in helping young African-American males become successful and productive adults, hosted the first Boys’ Leadership Summit (BLS) in October 2010. These men answered a charge by Michael Baisden, an international radio personality, who encouraged communities to join together to impact the lives of our young black men.
Based on Dr. Shaun Harper’s report titled “Black Male Student Success in Higher Education” he found that Black men’s dismal college enrollments, disengagement and underachievement, and low rates of baccalaureate degree completion are among the most pressing and complex issues in American higher education. So, in 2012, PEF worked on several initiatives to empower men of color, young and old, to convene at luncheons and conferences to share their stories of triumph and collegiate success.
This year, PEF is joining forces with the founders and organizers of the Boys’ Leadership Summit to host a collaborative workshop for young men that will target males in grades 6-12 and include college males as well. Together, these organizations hope to provoke conversations that will engage, empower and encourage our young men to achieve to greater heights. We will have special sessions geared towards parents during the summit. Unique opportunities are in store for engaged parents.
The 5th Annual Boys Leadership Summit 2014 is a free one-day conference (breakfast & lunch provided) held on November 15, 2014 (9 am – 2 pm), that will serve as an opportunity for middle and high school males and their parents as well as young men in college to learn from experts and each other how to become successful and productive adults. We will cover topics to help attendees learn to cope with issues and problems facing youth today. Registration and breakfast will start at 8:00 am. The summit will be held at UT-Chattanooga’s University Center.
The first 50 people who register online AND attend the summit will have their names placed in a bowl to win an awesome gift at the end of the day.
For more information, contact Temus Terry – (423) 316-0698
For the past four years, Project Inspire has worked to recruit, train, and support excellent math and science teachers for Hamilton County schools. In August, a new cohort of teacher residents entered Dalewood Middle School, Tyner Middle Academy, and Tyner Academy, eager to begin their first year of residency. Side-by-side with their clinical instructors (veteran teachers of Hamilton County), the residents will dive into curriculum, instruction, and relationships with students. The staff of PEF and Project Inspire will continue to support these residents as well as graduates throughout the year.
However, an additional task is fresh on our minds. It’s time to recruit the next incoming cohort of teacher residents who share Project Inspire’s passion for equity and excellence in the Hamilton County public schools. This year, Project Inspire has received funding from a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. In the past, the program has been able to recruit teachers with a variety of undergraduate degrees, so long as they had sufficient math or science coursework. This year, however, the NSF grant provides an exciting opportunity for those who hold a degree in the STEM field—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Project Inspire is part of a national recruiting effort to recruit, train, and support STEM teachers. This connection positions Chattanooga nationally next to other large organizations who are devoting efforts to answer the nationwide shortage of quality math and science teachers. Locally, Project Inspire hopes to encourage recent STEM graduates as well as professionals. Through the teacher residency and ongoing professional support through Project Inspire, PEF, and Hamilton County Department of Education, the goal is to create a new story about teaching in low-performing schools—elevating the profession and giving teachers the opportunity to be entrepreneurs in their own classrooms.
On October 23, Project Inspire invites candidates to the first meet-up of the year at the Lamp Post Group for those who want to start a dialogue about teacher residency. The ideal candidate for the program is someone who is passionate about innovation, teaching, and is compelled towards social change. Candidates should hold a STEM degree or be pursuing one currently. While in many parts of the country teacher residency is aimed at recruiting undergraduates, Project Inspire is also an opportunity for career changers to gain a teaching license and masters in curriculum and instruction in a short amount of time. No matter if the candidate will be fresh out of college or is thinking about making a career change, the most important candidate quality is a compelling vision and passion to provide students in Hamilton County with the best science and math teachers possible.
- Erin Harrell, Project Inspire Program Associate
PEF is reaching out the community and businesses to provide important information on preparing for college & careers. One of the ways we’re doing this is by hosting, in partnership with businesses, the College Knowledge Lunch Breaks. Sessions run from noon to 1 p.m., providing a convenient time for parents, counselors, and other community members to quickly gain valuable knowledge they can share with young people in their lives.
The first “lunch and learn” will be Wednesday, September 24th at PEF on Resume Writing & Interviewing Skills. Larry Tong, Assistant Vice President of Benefits, and Shawnel Rogers, Director of Benefits, will be joining us from Unum to bring their unique employer perspectives.
As students complete their senior year in high school or college they’ve built a wealth of knowledge and skills. An area that doesn’t get a lot of attention, until students seek employment, is fundamental resume writing and interviewing skills. We’ll discuss the resume and interview from the employer’s perspective during an interactive session:
1) What does an employer look for in a resume and interview? A basic understanding will help students be strategic with their preparation and build their confidence.
2) Insight to be shared—do’s and don’ts in your resume / interview, cover letters, key business words, social media, elevator speech, professionalism, etc.
A buffet lunch is available for $5 or participants may bring their own lunch; sessions are FREE but online registration is requested.
Subsequent workshops will take place at businesses in the community. We are looking for businesses to provide space so that we bring in experts to talk about college & career related topics to its employees and the general public. For more information about hosting a College Knowledge Lunch Break, contact Janice Neal at 423.668.2423.
- Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President, College & Career Success
Today is our last day to win $5,000 from First Tennessee Foundation! PEF needs your help NOW for our mission of improving student achievement in Hamilton County public schools.
Visit 150daysofgiving.com, search for “public education”, and vote for PEF (look for our logo). You DON’T have to register, get a password, or anything. Just search, click, and vote.
You can vote from ALL your devices ONCE a day: your phone, iPad, laptop, desktop, etc. each day, and all those votes will count. Please share this through your networks, social media, and help public schools by helping PEF!
- Shannon Edmondson, Development & Communications Officer
Please save the date for PEF’s Transforming Public Education Luncheon: a celebration of our 25th Anniversary and excellence in teaching, leading, and student achievement.
Wednesday, October 22
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Chattanoogan Hotel Ballroom
Table and ticket sales will begin after Labor Day; visit our 25th Anniversary page for information as it becomes available.
Contact Shannon Edmondson (423.668.2430) for more information, including sponsorship opportunities.
PEF, Benwood and HCDE in collaboration with CO.LAB hosted the first Teacherpreneur 48Hour Launch weekend and pitch event, with 28 Hamilton County teachers pitching ideas to transform public education. The Teacherpreneur Incubator was designed to provide support, time and space for teachers to incubate big ideas and execute them in the best interests of their students, their profession and the Chattanooga community.
The top 5 projects received prize money for the teachers and funding to carry out the ideas, while a total of 15 projects were awarded financial support. All 28 projects will continue to receive support from PEF, Causeway, Co.Lab, and other community partners.
“The Teacherprenuer Incubator exemplifies the power of connecting innovative teachers to the community,” stated Robert Sharpe, Assistant Superintendent for Leadership and Education. “If the excitement and support from the 48Hour Launch weekend carries throughout the year, Chattanooga will be known as a place that invests just as much in Teacherprenuers as entrepreneurs.”
Keri Randolph, Vice President of Learning for PEF, explained, “Teachers have great ideas, but they often don’t have the time, support and energy to get those ideas off the ground. We really envision much more than just a typical grant. We’re creating a community of teacher leaders who, with the support of one another and their community, will launch big ideas.”
The first –place prize went to The Howard School’s Jessica Hubbuch and Sean Brown for their “Standards Driven Project-Based Learning for High School Sciences” project. They will develop a project-based curriculum tied into Common Core standards and will use technology to support student research.
The second-place prize was awarded to “Beth’sList,” a website akin to Craigslist for teachers created by Red Bank Elementary’s Beth Wilson to connect teachers with other teachers and local businesses that have extra classroom and office supplies needed for the classroom.
The third-place prize was given to “First Person Fixer,” an interactive computer diagnostics and troubleshooting seminar proposed by Normal Park Museum Magnet’s Matthew Craig.
Lee Friedlander’s “AgLab” greenhouse, which uses food and ornamental crop production at Hixson High to teach problem solving, teamwork, innovation, and STEM principles, tied for fourth with “Leadership Think Tank – 21st Century Communication and Beyond,” a project from Bess T. Shepherd Elementary’s Valerie Brown, Linda Bugg, Lindsey Hagan, and Patricia Russell. The Think Tank team is planning to create a collaborative space for students and teachers to brainstorm ideas and use multiple technologies to make a positive impact on the community.
In addition to the top 5 teams, the following 10 teams won funding and support:
To help mentor or support one of these teams, please contact Keri Randolph at email@example.com or 423-668-2426.
There’s only one weekend left before the school year begins for Hamilton County teachers. Just 48 hours to spend with family, put the finishing touches on school-year preparation, or squeeze in one last trip before a busy year kicks off.
But over 40 Hamilton County teachers will spend their last weekend doing something completely different and completely Chattanooga. PEF, Benwood and HCDE in collaboration with CO.LAB will host the first Teacherpreneur 48Hour Launch on August 1-3. The Hamilton County teachers and their teams will gather during the weekend at Society of Work to develop short pitches for their innovative education ideas.
The culminating Teacherpreneur 48Hour Launch Pitch Event, which will showcase these innovative pitches, will be Sunday, August 3 at 4 p.m. ET at Church on Main (1601 Rossville Ave). A group of judges will award funding and resources to many of the teachers with ideas that are innovative, impactful and feasible.
The Teacherpreneur Incubator is designed to provide support, time and space for teachers to incubate big ideas and execute them in the best interests of both their students, their profession and our community. Too often teachers who want to be leaders feel like they only have one choice – go into school administration and leave the classroom behind. In this first-of-its-kind Incubator, motivated teachers will expand their reach beyond the classroom by leading a change in their school and the community.
After submitting innovative proposals early in the summer, over 20 teachers were selected to participate in the Teacherpreneur Incubator. These teachers met multiple times throughout the summer to prepare for the 48HR Launch weekend.
No two ideas are exactly alike. They range from a kite-based math and science curriculum to a MakerSpace in a school library to innovative apps. The teachers and their teams – made up of mentors from local businesses, community members and fellow teachers – will spend all weekend honing their pitches before Sunday evening’s pitch night. During the weekend, workshops will be held on public speaking, budgeting, starting a business, and more.
Teachers will receive some funding but, more importantly, they will also be paired with a team of community members and local experts to help them get their ideas off the ground. These teacher leaders are cultivating authentic ties to the community to create deeper learning opportunities for their students. They are taking advantage of Chattanooga’s unique technology tools and resources to personalize learning and share their experiences with others.
Entrepreneurs transform challenges into business opportunities. Teacherpreneurs will do the same for our schools. If you are interested in getting involved by mentoring, joining a team, supporting the 48Hour Launch weekend, please contact Keri Randolph at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-668-2426. To support the teacherpreneurs by attending the 48HR Launch Pitch Night on Sunday at 4 p.m., please sign up at 48hrteach.eventbrite.com.
- Lauren Deason, STEM Program Associate