Benefits to Participating Communities

The national seminar on "The Art of Biography," July 2013. (Clockwise from bottom left: National Fellows Michelle Hilbeck, New Castle County; Terry Anne Wildman, Philadelphia; Audrelia R. Dugi, Diné Nation; Torrieann M. Dooley, Charlotte; Lisa Christenson, San Mateo County; Raymond Smith, Chicago; Carol P. Boynton, New Haven; seminar leader John L. Gaddis; National Fellows Sonia Henze, Pittsburgh; Audra K. Bull, Tulsa; Camille Pires, Emery Unified; Elizabeth A. Daniell, San José; and Taylor Davis, Richmond.)

The Yale National Initiative offers a range of services to cities and communities that are exploring or planning an Institute, as well as to Institutes that have been established. It provides opportunities for teachers from those cities and communities and from those Institutes to participate in national seminars in New Haven. It provides opportunities for acquainting university faculty members and school and university officials with the Teachers Institute approach. It may also provide advice on specific problems, and site visits by members of a National Initiative team. It enables Teachers Institutes to participate in research activities and to share in their results. There are also meetings of the directors of the Teachers Institutes, and an Annual Conference. The office of the National Initiative will handle all requests that Institutes or cities and communities planning an Institute may make for assistance from League members.

There is an annual cycle of events through which the services and opportunities are coordinated. In May the teachers selected to participate as National Fellows in one of the national seminars attend an Organizational Session in New Haven. In July, when they attend the Intensive Session, they are joined by college and university faculty members, who may observe national seminars and also attend meetings on the Teachers Institute approach. In the Annual Conference in October, National Fellows, together with university and school officials and college and university faculty members from League Institutes and from cities and communities planning or exploring an Institute, report on and plan for the Initiative's work locally and nationally. The Fellows describe the teaching of curriculum units they developed in the national seminars; teachers of each city and community report on progress they are making locally; the national seminars reconvene; and break-out sessions address various aspects of the Teachers Institute approach.

The National Steering Committee, which consists of teachers from each Institute in the League, takes a major initiative in planning this common work and encouraging communication among the teachers at the various Institutes. It is complemented by the National University Advisory Council, which consists of faculty members from each Institute.

For school districts that are planning or exploring the establishment of a Teachers Institute, teachers represent their colleagues to assist with planning, organizing, and conducting Initiative activities. They promote the Initiative to other teachers in the district(s) schools and ensure that they may have a direct role in designing national seminars to meet their own needs and the needs of their students.

There is also a National Advisory Committee, appointed by the Yale President, which assists the Initiative with the further dissemination, evaluation, and development of its programs.

A Web site — teachers.yale.edu — is dedicated to the Yale National Initiative as an entity, with links to Teachers Institutes that are members of the League of Teachers Institutes. This Web site is not only a communications hub for the work of the Initiative but also an important continuing means of disseminating its results to the nation. It carries literature (including policy statements, curriculum units, and issues of its periodical publication) and video materials that can be downloaded. It also offers those who visit the Web site the opportunity to provide comments on curriculum units and other material.

The periodical On Common Ground is an important means of communication among the League Institutes and locations that are exploring or planning an Institute, and also an important means of dissemination to educators, funders, media, and policy makers. It provides selected information about the Yale National Initiative and the work being carried on at cities across the nation. Number 10, for Spring 2005, provides a summarizing account of the National Demonstration Project, the Preparation Phase of the Yale National Initiative, and plans for the League of Teachers Institutes. It contains the results of the four studies mentioned in the section of this Web site on "Evaluations and Results," and contributions from persons who have been working with Institutes in the Yale National Initiative. Number 11, for Winter 2007, contains a wide range of contributions from university and school administrators, university faculty members, and National Fellows, which highlight the connections being made through the National Initiative and illustrate the benefits found in the Teachers Institute Approach by administrators, seminar leaders, school teachers, and their students. Number 12, for Spring 2008, charts the further progress of the Yale National Initiative in 2006 and 2007. Number 13, for Spring 2009, presents articles by Yale faculty members on national seminars they have led and by National Fellows on curriculum units developed in those seminars that they have begun to teach, and a condensed version on the new Evaluation of Teachers Institute Experiences. Number 14, for Fall 2011, on "Enacting a Nationally Significant Approach," contains a cover story on the legislation introduced in June 2011, a feature on the Teachers Institute theory of change, a section on the new Delaware Teachers Institute, and articles by teachers about curriculum units they developed in seminars with Yale faculty members to engage and educate their students in high-need schools.