We are investing in new programs focused on increasing the number and diversity of teachers and school leaders committed to working in urban settings and ensuring existing teachers and leaders serving our most vulnerable children have access to best-in-class training and professional development.
Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness Matters
The evidence base is clear that students benefit from access to teachers and leaders who share their background, and we know from our own experiences as students and educators how powerful it is to have mentors who understand some of the barriers that we might face given aspects of our identities. Beyond representation, we know that effectiveness relies on cultural competence and that innovation is vastly accelerated with a diversity of perspectives. For these reasons, we are investing in building a diverse teacher and leader force that is well-prepared and culturally competent, with a particular focus on those who share a background with our most under-resourced children.
- “Does Teacher Diversity Matter in Student Learning?” by Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times
- “The Power of Teacher Expectations” by Seth Gershenson and Nicholas Papageorge in EdNext
- “Where Are All the Teachers of Color?” by Josh Moss of Harvard Education Magazine
Raising the Bar for Teacher Preparation
Teacher residencies are leading as a 21st century teacher preparation pathway that measures and monitors a resident’s knowledge and skills prior to entering the classroom as a lead teacher. Residents are matched with mentors – experienced and data proven educators – who gradually release responsibility to the resident to teach and facilitate learning effectively over the course of the year.
We have invested in the launch and scale of the St. Louis Teacher Residency program which provides an innovative pathway into the classroom. Their model blends a rigorous full-year classroom apprenticeship with a carefully aligned sequence of academic coursework, designed to successfully prepare residents for a career in urban education.
- “Creating a new generation of educators” by Diane Toroian Keaggy of The Source at Washington University in St. Louis
- “St. Louis Teacher Residency recruits adults to change careers and try teaching” by Ryan Delaney of St. Louis Public Radio
- “Teacher residency approach aims to produce educators who stay” by Kristen Taketa of St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Investing in High-Quality Teacher Pipelines
In addition to the St. Louis Teacher Residency program, we are invested in Teach For America which is a network of diverse leaders grounded through experience teaching in high poverty schools working to expand educational opportunity from within and outside of schools. In St. Louis, the Teach for America network is 600 strong, including over 200 classroom teachers and more than 90 alumni working in school & school systems leadership. More than 28% of alumni identify as people of color and 62% are transplants to the region.
We are supporting the expansion of Teach for America St. Louis to help them recruit more talented leaders to teach in our city’s under-resourced schools.
- “Warren Morgan now leading TFA St. Louis” by Pat Matreci for the St. Louis American
- EdNext Podcast: Elisa Villanueva Beard and the Impact of Teach For America
Connecting Leaders to Excellence and Innovation
We believe that we can and must increase the number of world class schools and high-quality seats in St. Louis and at the same time that we must shift power to the parents and communities that are served by St. Louis schools. It is not enough to have pockets of excellence across the city so we must strengthen the ties between educators and schools to accelerate the rate at which we see and learn from excellence. We support leadership pipeline and development programs as well as communities of practice to connect educators to one another, building trusted networks for practice-sharing.
Our recent investments in this area have included a two-day professional development workshop provided by The Management Center for school leaders in St. Louis, our Catalyst Fellowship for educators and entrepreneurs who want to forge the next frontier of learning environments, and connections and supports that address specific school needs.