Public School Teachers Complete National Seminars at Yale

Public school teachers from ten cities in nine states have completed national seminars and an Intensive Session as part of the Yale National Initiative to strengthen teaching in public schools.

About half of the sixty-three teachers, designated Yale National Fellows, were from six communities that are planning or exploring the establishment of a new Teachers Institute: Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; New Castle County, DE; Richmond, VA; and Santa Fe, NM. Half were from Teachers Institutes that are members of the National Initiative League located in Houston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New Haven.

The twin purposes of the national seminars were to acquaint public school teachers with the Teachers Institute approach to high quality professional development, and to cultivate their leadership either in a League Teachers Institute or in the development of a new Teachers Institute. Each participating teacher wrote a curriculum unit to teach his or her students what they learned, to share with teachers in their school district, and to disseminate to other teachers internationally over the Internet.

The seven seminars led by Yale faculty members, which began in early May and concluded in mid-August, included:

  • "Across the Curriculum with Detective Fiction for Young People and Adults" led by Paul H. Fry, William Lamspon Professor of English;
  • "Adapting Literature" led by Dudley Andrew, R. Selden Rose Professor of Film and Comparative Literature;
  • "Keeping the Meaning in Mathematics: The Craft of Word Problems" led by Roger E. Howe, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Mathematics;
  • "Latino Cultures and Communities" led by Stephen J. Pitti, Professor of History & American Studies;
  • "Maps and Mapmaking" led by Mary E. Miller, Vincent Scully Professor of the History of Art;
  • "Renewable Energy" led by Gary W. Brudvig, Professor and Chair of Chemistry; and
  • "The Science and Technology of Space" led by Sabatino Sofia, Professor of Astronomy.

Participants in the two-week Intensive Session in July, who lived and shared meals on the Yale campus, included not only the Yale National Fellows but also directors of Teachers Institutes and college and university faculty members who have led or may lead local Teacher Institute seminars. Between July 2 and 13 Fellows attended ten two-hour daily meetings of their seminars and conferred individually with their seminar leaders. One National Fellow served as the Coordinator of each seminar. The Coordinators were Maria Cardalliaguet Gomez-Malaga of New Haven, Jennifer B. Esty of New Haven, Eric James Laurenson of Pittsburgh, Karlene E. McGowen of Houston, Mary Lou Narowski of New Haven, Samuel A. Reed of Philadelphia, and Ralph E. Russo of New Haven.

College and university faculty members who have led local Institute seminars and those from institutions that may become partners in establishing a new Teachers Institute observed national seminars. They and directors met about the Teachers Institute approach, faculty roles within an Institute, the institutional partnership between a school district and a college or university, and the Teachers Institute legislation. They met with national seminar leaders about what they observed, and with other experienced seminar leaders about the seminar and curriculum unit writing process, and the purpose and function of a University Advisory Council in a Teachers Institute.

Institute directors met on a range of topics from evaluation and documentation, to finance and fund raising, to dissemination and the national Web site, to League policies and procedures.

Teams from each city that is planning or exploring a Teachers Institute met with the Director of the Yale National Initiative, James R. Vivian, to discuss their potential Teachers Institute. At the conclusion of the Intensive Session Fellows were named their cities' Teacher Representatives, who now have responsibility for planning and implementing Initiative activities locally and nationally. The Representatives and their cities are:

Susan Buckson Greene Atlanta, GA
Jeffrey Clay Joyce Charlotte, NC
Raymond F. Theilacker New Castle County, DE
Clary W. Carleton Richmond, VA
Danielle Gothie Santa Fe, NM