Teacher Residencies Explore New Visions’ Unique Collaboration with NYC Department of Education

Last month, the New Visions Urban Teacher Residency (UTR) was selected by the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) to be a demonstration site, serving as a model teacher residency program and acting as a laboratory of learning and improvement.  

NCTR convened dozens of educators from teacher residencies all over the United States, to network and examine a problem of practice presented by UTR.

Over the course of three days, representatives from various residency programs, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hunter College, the NYC Department of Education and other NCTR partner organizations visited select New Visions schools with one particular question in mind: How does participation in a school triad impact mentor practice as teachers and teacher educators?

School triads are a defining feature of the NYC Department of Education’s Learning Partners Program, a signature initiative of the Chancellor that promotes sharing of best practices and teacher collaboration across schools. In the program, teachers and administrators from one “host” school work with two “partner” schools on a year-long series of inter-visitations, classroom visits, and reflective seminars. In 2015, this program expanded to include New Visions’ Urban Teacher Residency, matching  successful UTR host schools with two less experienced partner schools to develop and integrate promising structures and strategies for resident preparation and mentor development.

By selecting UTR as a demonstration site, NCTR gave its partner residencies the opportunity to deeply explore the inner workings of the triad model. “We wanted to examine how to leverage UTR’s unique Triad model to strengthen mentor practice,” said “Shari Staub, NCTR’s network director. “UTR provided an excellent forum for the network to examine the intersection between purposeful and innovative school-based partnerships and teacher educator effectiveness.  NCTR was thrilled and honored to collaborate with UTR to design a thoughtful and relevant experience for the network.”

NCTR develops, innovates, and scales teacher residency programs to transform teacher preparation and improve outcomes for high-need students. It is the only organization in the nation dedicated to developing, launching, supporting, and accelerating the impact of teacher residency programs.

Participants at last month’s session attended instructional rounds at select New Visions schools to observe the school triads in action; analyze and learn from the teachers’ collaboration; share constructive feedback with the UTR team on how to improve the program; and ultimately take the things they’d learned back to their own residency programs to be implemented. They also talked with school administrators about their systematic approaches to supporting mentors and residents at their respective schools. 

Stephanie Burley, an English education mentor at Cambria Heights Academy of New Literacies, came to the instructional rounds visit with very specific goals in mind. “I really want to see best practices on how to help the mentors with their teaching practice especially with engagement in pacing,” she said.  “My mentee struggles with the time frame of the workshop model, sometimes her students don’t get time to do independent activities, which is crucial, so I’m hoping to learn more about that today.”

Other participants like Tommy McGrail, from Aspire Teacher Residency in Memphis, came eager to explore the problem of practice. “At 

Aspire, we have a lot more collaboration than within a larger district, but the idea of a triad, this small professional learning community, is something that I think we call do better. It’s fascinating to see the different components, the university partners, the schools, the site based coaches and mentors, residents. It’s very interesting.”

After instructional rounds at the schools, participants reconvened with one another in groups to debrief and provide constructive feedback for the New Visions team. After hours of discussions about the triad model and mentor and resident development, participants shared actionable feedback using a “keep, start, modify” protocol.

After instructional rounds at the schools, participants reconvened with one another in groups to debrief and provide constructive feedback for the New Visions team. After hours of discussions about the triad model and mentor and resident development, participants shared actionable feedback using a “keep, start, modify” protocol.


Program officers from both UTR and the Department of Education expressed their profound gratitude for the experience and the deeply constructive feedback on the partnership.“It was an eye opening experience to learn about our residency with so many knowledgeable and thoughtful partners,” said Rachelle Verdier, The deputy director of UTR. “NCTR gave us multiple perspectives on our work at a point in the year when changes are still possible. Not only were we exposed to the larger world of residencies, but our residents, mentors, schools and partners gained a better understanding of the power of the residency model. We are looking forward to our continued involvement with NCTR to strengthen our systems, processes and partnerships.”

“This convening presented an opportunity for us here in New York City to look at how we collaborate and to hear from outsiders how we can get better and make a program that is strong even stronger,” said Phil Weinberg, Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at the New York City Department of Education. “We want there to be authentic teacher residencies and we want schools to talk to each other about good practices learned from each other. It is really exciting to be able to expand this dialogue, nationally.”

The New Visions team will work together over the next few months to implement many of the suggestions provided by the NCTR participants.

 
 
comments powered by Disqus