IUE’s impact involves three key strategies:
- Grow Your Own/ Teacher Recruitment,
- New Pathways to Teacher Certification including scholarship support for career changers, and;
- Service to Schools for Beginning and Practicing Teachers.
These strategies leverage the early successes of the IUE and focus on the key challenges that are critical for retention of effective teachers in urban schools: Selection of Teachers, Urban Teacher Preparation, and Service to Teachers in Urban Schools.
Grow Your Own Programs
IUE partners with two local school districts, Kansas City Public Schools and Center School District, to develop pipeline programs for future teachers.
High school students in the Grow Your Own programs work as teaching assistants, tutors, or co-instructors during their junior and senior year in high school. These practica are complemented by a dual credit course throughout the school year. Grow Your Own program also provides high school students opportunities to be mentored by IUE students and teachers, participate in UMKC events and visit campus on various occasions as they begin to chart their course for entry into UMKC and the IUE.
Future plans for the IUE Grow Your Own Programs include early college coursework, early admittance to the IUE, service opportunities and Future Teacher Events that connect high school students to IUE students, alumni and the broader educational community.
New Pathways to Teacher Certification
Through working with students in the UMKC Masters of Arts in Teaching Program, IUE supports working adults and career changers who have made the decision to return to school to obtain teaching certification. Scholarship support, intensive coaching and urban education courses help career changers make smooth transitions to their lifelong (or brand new) goals of becoming teachers.
In an effort to increase the number of IUE teachers hired in Kansas City urban schools each year, the IUE plans to offer a viable option for prospective teachers who already hold a degree in a non-teaching field. The “career changer” pathway to certification combines the proven teacher preparation strategies of the IUE undergraduate program with the rigor and expediency of a graduate post-baccalaureate” program. As with the undergraduate IUE program, the “career changer” post-bac pathway will focus on teacher preparation for urban schools with a focus on content knowledge, understanding urban school context, utilizing culture as a vehicle for teaching and culturally-responsive teaching strategies.
In addition to utilizing IUEs proven strategies for IUE scholar selection, this career changer option allows school districts to identify potential participants and hire these individuals as paraeducators, teacher aides or other school personnel as they complete their teacher certification with the IUE. The career changer option has been requested by partner schools districts for many years and IUE is now positioned to meet this demand.
The career changer pathway functions in a similar fashion as the original IUE program; participants undergo a selective admissions process, receive training specialized to be prepared for teaching in Kansas City urban schools and will receive a full or partial scholarship to support their program. In exchange for the financial support, the participants will commit to teaching 2-4 years in a Kansas City urban partner district.
This strategy capitalizes on the proven strengths of IUE in identifying participants, quality preparation and scholarship support to increase the participant’s investment in the district. Each of these areas will contribute to increased teacher effectiveness and increased teacher retention.
Service to Schools for Beginning and Practicing Teachers
IUE plans to develop multiple programs for supporting and strengthening the skills of practicing teachers in our urban schools. The first such program, the Urban Teacher Leadership MA in Curriculum, was developed in 2009 as a strategy to both improve the skills and knowledge of practicing teachers as well as a mechanism for retaining teachers with potential for long-term leadership capacity in the district. This leadership capacity is defined as teacher leadership (influence from the classroom), department and grade level leads, instructional coaching, curriculum coordinators and prospective principals and district leaders. Under the new leadership of the IUE, the Urban Teacher Leadership MA in Curriculum will be reinstituted to meet the needs of our urban partner districts.
Other programs that will provide service to practicing teachers may include programs in culturally-responsive teaching, working with families and communities, strategies for effective classroom management and safe school communities as well as graduate programs tailored to meet the current need of our partner districts.