A New Model for Teacher Preparation

The Baltimore, MD-based Urban Teacher Center (UTC) recently celebrated a major milestone: its inaugural class of 20 teachers graduated this June. These educators made a four-year commitment to UTC’s newly launched program in 2010 and, as recent graduates Adrienne Williams and Yeoman Payne explain, it has been a tremendously rewarding pathway into the education profession.

UTC’s founding partners were driven by two beliefs when they created the alternative teacher preparation program:

  • First, that schools must have a guarantee that every teacher they hire will significantly improve student outcomes.
  • Second, that teacher educators are responsible for following through on that guarantee.

By building on lessons learned from other innovative programs, UTC accelerates student achievement in the nation’s highest-need schools by recruiting outstanding teacher candidates, equipping them with state-of-art training and linking certification to student performance results. UTC participants go through a four-step process before they are certified as teachers. Participants also complete a dual-master’s degree in education and special education through Lesley University.

What also makes UTC’s program unique is its emphasis on using data effectively to improve teaching and support student learning. Recently, at a Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) report briefing, UTC Teacher Antoinette Smith participated in a panel discussion regarding NWEA’s new study, Make Assessment Matter. In this study, NWEA surveyed more than 2,000 students and educators on their perceptions of assessment. Additionally, Antoinette guest blogged on NWEA’s website to weigh in on the findings from the study and about the power of looking at data collaboratively. (See more about Make Assessment Matter on this blog.)

Collaborative has had the honor to work with the Urban Teacher Center since its inception and is proud to see the organization’s impact continue to grow. Earlier this spring, UTC received a $1 million grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to develop the next stage of its impact strategy (see also “Why the Dell Foundation Loves the Urban Teacher Center”), as it expands its influence in Baltimore and Washington D.C. public schools. And this month, UTC welcomed its fifth cohort with 112 prospective teachers—making up their largest class yet.

Congratulations to UTC and its new graduates and good luck to the new cohort of 2018!