August 5, 2020
NCTR and Partner News

Congratulations to Boston Teacher Residency alumna N’Dia Riegler, who was named Massachussets History Teacher of the Year from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History!  Riegler lives out the ethos of the BTR in her Boston K-8 school, and said, “As an educator of color, in an urban school district, it is important that I create a safe and supportive classroom culture.  To foster student inquiry, I encourage participation, critical thinking and inclusive perspectives.”

In an enormous boost to the teacher residency model, California’s largest teacher preparation program out of California State University (which produces more than half of California’s new teachers each year) was awarded a $500,000 grant to continue its CSU Residency Year Service Scholarship Program.  “The scholarships will help to lessen student debt for aspiring teachers during these economically challenging times, aiding in the completion of their academic programs and improving new teacher retention,” says a university press release.

Program Spotlight: Featuring this Year's Residents and Mentors

Project Inspire Teacher Residency recruits, trains and develops teachers and leaders in partnership with Tennessee’s Hamilton County Schools, Lee University, the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, and Americorps.  Since 2011, more than 110 graduates have completed Project Inspire and filled critical shortage areas in high-need schools.

Mentor of the Year Nominee

Middle school social studies teacher Erica Kelley tells her students at the beginning of the school year that they will change the world and it's up to them whether they will change it for the better.  Erica is a champion for social justice in the community.  She uses her history class for students to build a more critical and inclusive lens for seeing the world and the events that shape history.  She has won several awards for teaching; however, we have seen firsthand how mentoring is what Erica was made to do.  She is changing the ecosystem within her high-needs school through the residency model.  She imparts to her resident a deep belief and understanding of how to use rigorous content and instructional activities to provide students with equitable access to meaningful, grade-level work.  She is a living example of the belief that all students seek to be challenged and engaged in meaningful work.  She understands that teacher residents need to develop their own decision-making processes around the teaching practices that work for them and their students.  With Erica’s resident continuing in the same site next year, we have seen only the beginning of a powerful mentoring relationship that will prove to change outcomes for students.
Resident of the Year Nominee

Jordan Simon is consistently exceeding our program requirements and demonstrating effectiveness.  Jordan is also showing thoughtfulness, deep understanding and reflection of his own growth as an educator. He is always thinking of new ways to bring energy and excitement to the math classroom.  Early in August 2019, he was receiving shout-outs from residents in our lab surveys not only about his teaching, but about how he collaborated, showed leadership and compassion among the cohort! He advocates for all. 

One stand-out moment was in October when Jordan had the idea to initiate a change project in which he researched how schools became a Level 5 school in the state of Tennessee. He is currently a resident at a school with an academic achievement of 1.3 and his goal was to “spark ideas and motivation for all residents in our become better educators in schools, ultimately creating the best environments to allow the kids to realize their full potential." 

His nominators and colleagues believe Jordan will go on to do great things in Hamilton County Schools and the state of Tennessee.

Featured News

With dozens of K-12 school districts beginning instruction this week—including states in the American Southwest and Southeast such as Arizona, New Mexico, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee—the most pressingly relevant news and discussion seems to be that related to school reopenings amid the continued spread of COVID-19. 

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has issued Restart & Recovery: Considerations for Teaching & Learning as guidance for three different “system condition” scenarios (in-person instruction, remote, and hybrid).  You can read a summary here.

Below, we have collected recent articles pertaining to the academic challenges facing teachers and learners, including equity gaps exacerbated by digital access and the lack thereof; the potential strain on families; and the financial woes anticipated by school districts.  All of these concerns, of course, persist in the face of a very real health threat to educators, parents, and children.

Wherever you are, we are wishing all of the educators, parents, and students in our network only the best during this challenging time.  Please stay safe. 

Resources and Connections

A controversial but well-researched new podcast from The New York Times and Serial called “Nice White Parents” chronicles the gentrification of one diverse Brooklyn school over several generations.  Dr. Eve L. Ewing who spoke at NCTR’s Annual Symposium in 2019 served as an editorial consultant for this podcast. You can listen wherever you stream podcasts. 

Empathize, realize, synthesize, and generalize are four steps 5th Grade teacher Dr. Rachael Mahmood uses to guide students in thinking about social (in)justice.  Given more widespread suffering and awareness in 2020, Mahmood says in EducationPost, now is the right time to talk to young people about issues that impact others, with COVID-19 as “the catalyst to explore any injustice, whether in their own communities or somewhere across the globe.”

In The News
This one letter in a textbook could change how millions of kids learn about race

McGraw Hill is one of the country's largest K-12 textbook publishers that may soon capitalize the word Black in reference to Black Americans in future editions of its U.S. History textbooks.  This initiative is led by a senior McGraw Hill textbook writer and Texas A&M University professor Albert Broussard, and follows similar journalistic decisions by major news outlets including The Associated Press, New York Times and CNN.  But this effort is not enough to dismantle implicit bias and systemic racism in education systems, say other experts.

Students Urge Public Schools to Develop Anti-Racism Curricula
Nonprofit Quarterly

Diversify Our Narrative is a college student-led campaign that trains youth organizers to petition for diverse and anti-racist texts in public schools.  Others take individual action to ensure U.S. History and Language Arts instruction is inclusive.  Meanwhile, there is congressional backlash to educators using The New York Times“The 1619 Project” to inform their curriculum. 

Please note that the articles and events in the NCTR E-Blast do not reflect the opinions of our organization, but rather represent information that we believe will be relevant to you and your programs.

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