The national seminar on "Keeping the Meaning in Mathematics: The Craft of Word Problems," July 2007. (Left to right: Karlene E. McGowen, Houston; Valerie Schwarz, Richmond; Nancy Rudolph, New Castle County; and Huwerl Thornton, New Haven.)
Seventy-two public school teachers from fourteen school districts in eleven communities in ten states have been chosen to participate in national seminars and an Intensive Session as part of the Yale National Initiative to strengthen teaching in public schools.
Fifty of the teachers, named Yale National Fellows, are from seven communities that are planning or exploring the establishment of a new Teachers Institute: Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; DeKalb County, GA; New Castle County, DE; Richmond, VA; San Francisco, CA; and Santa Fe, NM. Other National Fellows are from Teachers Institutes that are members of the League of Teachers Institutes located in Houston, TX; New Haven, CT; Philadelphia, PA; and Pittsburgh, PA.
The twin purposes of the national seminars are to provide public school teachers further preparation in their subjects and a first-hand acquaintance with the Teachers Institute approach to high-quality professional development. This increases their leadership in a League Teachers Institute or prepares them to lead the establishment of a new Teachers Institute. Each participating teacher writes a curriculum unit to teach his or her students what they learn in seminars and to share with teachers in their school district and, over the Internet, with other teachers internationally.
The seminars, which begin on May 1 and conclude in mid-August, include "Storytelling around the Globe," led by Dudley Andrew, R. Selden Rose Professor of Film Studies and Comparative Literature; "Green Chemistry," led by Gary W. Brudvig, Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; "The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of the Civil Rights Movement," led by Robert A. Burt, Alexander M. Bickel Professor of Law; "Shakespeare and Human Character," led by Paul H. Fry, William Lampson Professor of English; "The Sound of Words: An Introduction to Poetry," led by Langdon L. Hammer, Professor of English and of American Studies; "The Brain in Health and Disease," led by W. Mark Saltzman, Goizueta Foundation Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering; and "Energy, Climate, Environment," led by John P. Wargo, Professor of Environmental Risk Analysis and Policy.
Participants in the two-week Intensive Session in July, who live on the Yale campus, will include 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 6 and 17 Fellows will attend daily seminar meetings and will confer individually with their seminar leaders.
One National Fellow will serve as the Coordinator of each seminar. The Coordinators are Bonnee Breese of Philadelphia, Maria Cardalliaguet Gómez-Málaga of New Haven, Joseph A. Corsetti of New Haven, Barbara M. Dowdall of Philadelphia, Eric J. Laurenson of Pittsburgh, Francisca Eunice Rebullida of Houston, and Huwerl Thornton of New Haven.
The Yale National Initiative to strengthen teaching in public schools is a long-term endeavor to establish exemplary Teachers Institutes in underserved school districts in states throughout the country. Following the approach developed in New Haven and demonstrated in Houston, Pittsburgh, and other cities, it builds upon the success of a four-year National Demonstration Project. The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, a permanently endowed unit of Yale University, is in its thirty-second year of operation.
Teachers Institutes are educational partnerships between universities and school districts designed to strengthen teaching and learning in a community's public schools. Evaluations have shown that the Institute approach promotes precisely those dimensions of teacher quality that improve student achievement. That approach exemplifies all the characteristics of high-quality teacher professional development. Institute participation is strongly linked to retention of teachers in urban public schools.