Teacher Preparation

Urban Teachers Program Expands to Dallas-Fort Worth

The Urban Teachers teacher certification program will launch a new initiative in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, similar to programs already in place in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore dating back to 2010.

The program's goal is to act as an alternative to traditional teacher training programs by offering more opportunities for real-life classroom experience and mentoring.

The Urban Teachers program started with 19 teachers-in-training in Washington, D.C. in 2010 and now has 217 participants teaching across the district. The District of Columbia Public Schools will further expand the program next year, according to representatives. Eventually, the district wants all of its new teachers hired through the residency program.

The program is similar to the medical school model in which candidates work their way through a four-year program with a 14-month residency in urban schools before becoming a lead classroom teacher and graduate coursework followed by three years of coaching and mentoring.

More than 100 aspiring teachers will start the program in the fall in Dallas Independent School District and local charter schools.

According to Todd Williams, founding executive director of The Commit! Partnership, a coalition of organizations working to raise student achievement in Dallas County, the Dallas-Fort Worth area will need to see more than 5,700 educators in the pipeline over the next several years.

"There are many factors in education that we can't control," Williams said, "but we can and should guarantee that all our teachers have the experience, skills and support to equip every student to succeed. The new partnership with Urban Teachers will help us do just that."

Urban Teachers CEO Jennifer Green said her organization is eager to get started in Dallas.

"This school year, Urban Teachers will impact more than 15,000 students across Baltimore and DC, and we know that's not enough," Green said.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.