Walk into the Community Academy – Amos I campus, a preK-5 school in northwest Washington DC – and you’ll immediately be struck by the bright atmosphere. It’s awash in light, even on a winter day, and the walls and lockers sparkle in friendly hues of orange and yellow. Student artwork adorns the walls, and every classroom door is decorated with a display of the “scholar rock stars” inside each room. Students in uniforms move purposefully through the hallways. You might think it was an exclusive prep school, rather than the site of an innovative partnership in meeting the needs of inner city students.
Yet that’s exactly what’s going on. Through a partnership with the Urban Teacher Center, the school is a training ground for the next generation of urban educators. The Urban Teacher Center, founded in 2010 to create a pipeline of talented, dedicated teachers for urban schools, currently works with public schools in Baltimore and Washington DC, including charter schools like Amos I. The core of the program is a promise to schools that UTC teachers will earn full certification only after demonstrated effectiveness in teaching practice and on student achievement gains. The NWEA MAP assessment is used to measure student growth and as a proof point in the teacher’s ability to demonstrate effectiveness.
Jacqueline Greer, Executive Director of UTC’s DC operations
Jacqueline Greer, Executive Director of UTC’s DC operations, gave me an overview of the program, then showed how it is working at Amos I, where we visited classrooms with several teachers-in-training. After a rigorous selection process, candidates are placed into school settings, as a co-teacher, with increasing responsibility for teaching as they move through the program. Upon completion, UTC teachers will have a master’s degree and dual certification in special education and either elementary or secondary education. We met a first year resident, who shared the challenge of balancing the course work with the practicum. Once a candidate has made it through an intense first year, the program continues to support them with coaching, relevant coursework and a community of engaged peers.
We are proud that MAP data plays a role in helping UTC teachers drive positive outcomes for their students – and proud of the great work teachers do each day to help all their students learn.
Image(s) Source: Urban Teacher Center