Public School Teachers Complete Yale Program

Yale National Fellows Lead Professional Efforts for Their Communities

New Haven ..... Thirty-three public school teachers from thirteen school districts in eight states and the District of Columbia have completed national seminars and an Intensive Session as part of the Yale National Initiative to strengthen teaching in public schools®.

Twenty-five of the teachers, named Yale National Fellows, are from school districts that are planning or exploring the establishment of a new Teachers Institute for Chicago, IL; the District of Columbia; Pittsburgh, PA; Richmond, VA; San José, CA; and Tulsa, OK. Other National Fellows come from existing Teachers Institutes located on the Navajo Nation, AZ; and in New Castle County, DE; New Haven, CT; and Philadelphia, PA. Overall, nearly half of the National Fellows are participating in national seminars for the first time.

The purposes of the seminars are to provide public school teachers deeper knowledge of the subjects they teach and first-hand experience with the Teachers Institute approach to high-quality professional development. This fosters their leadership in an existing Teachers Institute or prepares them to lead the development of a new Teachers Institute. Each teacher writes a curriculum unit to teach their students about the seminar subject and to share with other teachers in their school district and, through the website at, with teachers anywhere. The curriculum units implement academic standards of the teachers' school districts and assist the teachers in engaging and educating the students in their school courses.

The 2022 seminars, which began on April 29 and concluded in mid-August, were:

  • "Children and Education in World Cinema," led by Dudley Andrew, R. Selden Rose Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Professor Emeritus of Film Studies;
  • "Alien Earths," led by Sarbani Basu, William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Astronomy
  • "American Global Power from Empire to Superpower," led by David C. Engerman, Leitner International Interdisciplinary Professor of History;
  • "The Social Struggles of Contemporary Black Art," led by Roderick A. Ferguson, Professor of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies and of American Studies; and
  • "Fires, Floods, and Droughts: Impacts of Climate Change in the U.S.," led by Jordan Peccia, Thomas E. Golden, Jr. Professor of Environmental Engineering.

A National Fellow served as the Coordinator of each seminar. The Coordinators were Carol P. Boynton of New Haven, Connecticut; Mark Hartung of San José, California; Sean Means of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Zachary Meyers of Washington, D. C.; and Valerie J. Schwarz of Richmond, Virginia.

Participants lived on the Yale campus during the Intensive Session in July. Between July 8 and 19 National Fellows attended ten two-hour daily meetings of their seminars and met individually with their seminar leader.

The team from each location conferred with the Director of the Yale National Initiative, James R. Vivian, about the ways their experience in the national program strengthens their leadership in an existing Teachers Institute or prepares them to lead the establishment of a new Teachers Institute. At the conclusion of the Intensive Session, six Fellows were named their districts' teacher Representatives for the coming year. The Representatives, who lead the planning and implementing of Initiative activities locally and nationally, are:

Mark Hartung School Districts in San José, CA: East Side Union High School District, Franklin-McKinley School District, and San José Unified School District
Brandon Barr Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL
Sean Means Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburgh, PA
Zachary Meyers District of Columbia Public Schools, Washington, DC
Valerie Schwarz Richmond Public Schools, Richmond, VA
Tara Waugh Tulsa Public Schools, Tulsa, OK

Superintendents will accompany the National Fellows when they return to Yale for the Annual Conference on October 28-29.

The Yale National Initiative to strengthen teaching in public schools, now in its eighteenth year, is a long-term endeavor to influence public policy on teacher professional development, in part by establishing exemplary Teachers Institutes for high-poverty, high-minority schools in states around the country. These Institutes follow the approach developed originally in New Haven and implemented now in other cities.

Teachers Institutes are educational partnerships between universities and school districts designed to strengthen teaching and learning in a community's high-need public schools. Evaluations have shown that the Institute approach exemplifies the characteristics of high-quality teacher professional development, enhances teacher quality in ways known to improve student achievement, and encourages participants to remain in teaching in their schools.

Yale National Initiative®, Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute®, On Common Ground®, and League of Teachers Institutes® are registered trademarks of Yale University.