New Haven Announces $1 Million Grant to Support Teachers

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Major national investment in New Haven teachers a testament to the success and momentum of New Haven School Change Initiative
NEW HAVEN – City and school leaders on Tuesday announced that the school district has received a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund innovative professional development for teachers.
The grant will support a new program called Empowered Effective Educators, or E^3, which aims to build upon the district’s nationally acclaimed teacher evaluation and development model with a new, intensified focus on teacher professionalism. The goal is to strengthen classroom instruction and student learning by creating more opportunities and carving out more time for teachers to collaborate, learn from each other, engage in meaningful professional development and become leaders in their schools.
Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries joined New Haven Federation of Teachers President David Cicarella and teacher leaders at Barnard Environmental Magnet Studies School to make the announcement Tuesday and to engage in discussion about teacher leadership and professional development programs.
The announcement comes after last week’s news that New Haven teachers ratified a three-year contract that emphasizes teacher professionalism and offers differentiated compensation for teachers who take on leadership roles or work in hard-to-serve schools.
“As with everything we do in this district, students are at the center. This investment will enable us to intensify our focus on teacher professionalism as we continue efforts to connect to students, engage them in learning, and launch them into bright futures. The grant also recognizes the talent and hard work of our teachers, who continue to be strong partners in School Change,” said Superintendent Harries.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant and honored that people across the country continue to recognize the good work we are doing collaboratively here in New Haven. Teachers in New Haven have risen to the challenge of School Change, and this investment validates their role as partners in school improvement and trail blazers in the national school reform movement,” said Cicarella.
“This grant will allow New Haven to begin building a new mechanism for teacher development, helping the district to train teacher leaders and support teams of teachers as they endeavor to strengthen their practice. As we embark on this new phase of school reform, it is heartening to move forward with the support of the Gates Foundation,” said Justin Boucher, a history teacher a Hill Central Career High School and a leader of the committee overseeing the grant.
The Gates Foundation grant will help fund a program that uses specially trained Teacher Facilitators to lead peer-to-peer collaboration and personalized professional learning opportunities. The end goal is to empower educators in the classroom and make them accountable for student success, so that all students are prepared for college, career and life.
Through its School Change Initiative, New Haven has developed and implemented a nationally recognized reform effort in collaboration with the district's teachers and administrators that aims to close the achievement gap with the state, cut the drop-out rate and ensure every student is has the tools and knowledge to succeed in college, career and life. A central pillar of this collaborative strategy has been educator evaluation and development systems, as well as a comprehensive leadership development programs. All of the initiatives aim to create professional learning experiences that are purposeful, meaningful and supportive
The E^3 teacher development program functions as a complement to the district’s Professional Educator Program (PEP), an initiative aimed at cultivating teachers and administrators through individualized coaching and personal learning, as well as differentiated career opportunities and compensation. The PEP initiative is made possible through $53 million multi-year federal grant awarded to the district in fall 2012.
Both initiatives will fall under the district’s new Talent Office, which will over see all aspects of educator evaluation and development, recruitment, support and retention.