Grad student lands national teaching fellowship; CELL & Education MBA nationally recognized


Grad student lands national teaching fellowship

Kelly_CriderThe Knowles Science Teaching Foundation has named Kelly Crider, a student in UIndy’s Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship program, to its own 2013 cohort of Teaching Fellows. The five-year Knowles fellowships provide beginning math and science teachers with guidance and financial support to help them become educational leaders. Only 35 fellows, the top 15 percent of applicants nationwide, were named this year.The Woodrow Wilson fellowship, on the other hand, is an intensive one-year master’s degree program that prepares career changers and recent college graduates to teach STEM subjects in high-need schools. UIndy is one of only four universities in Indiana that host the program, which includes a $30,000 stipend.Crider, a Muncie native, was an ideal candidate for both fellowships, given her undergraduate studies in chemistry and biology. She plans to begin her teaching career this fall in Indianapolis. Students who complete the Woodrow Wilson program receive a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, which UIndy also offers in a part-time format that can be completed in less than two years.

CELL one of only three nationally honored for TAP

CELL, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis, is one of just three recipients nationwide of this year’s TAP Award of Distinction, which honors organizations for their dedication and commitment to advancing the effectiveness of educators. The award was announced before more than 1,200 educators and policy leaders at the national TAP conference, held in Los Angeles. Each Indiana TAP school has focused on improving learning by working as a team to deliver effective instruction in every classroom. Regular professional development sessions focus on student academic data and specific student needs; teacher leaders guide weekly professional development and provide individual coaching in classrooms; evaluations of teacher practice are followed by feedback and support for improvement; and a performance-based compensation system rewards educators for increased skill and student performance.

After the first year of TAP implementation, Indiana TAP schools showed measurable student achievement results. According to an Interactive Inc. study in 2012, TAP schools outperformed the control schools on the state test, Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+), in 15 of 21 possible score combinations, a trend that held true across socioeconomic categories and for nearly every ethnicity. In the elementary grades, ISTEP+ pass rates were three percentage points higher in language, math and combined scores. TAP schools have continued to thrive and educators’ perceptions of TAP’s innovative reform remain high. CELL is among three TAP Award of Distinction recipients this year. The others are Arizona State University and Texas Tech University.

Study: teacher effectiveness program boosts achievement

A teacher effectiveness program that has spread to 48 Indiana schools is boosting student achievement and school ratings and also winning support from teachers and administrators, according to a new study examining data from the program’s first two years. TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement —administered in Indiana by UIndy’s Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning—is one option available to meet the state requirement that every school adopt a system of evaluation and performance-based compensation for teachers. The new study prepared for CELL and the Indiana Department of Education finds a clear impact on how schools fared in the state’s A-F rating system. From 2011 to 2013, the first two years of implementation, 40 percent of Indiana TAP schools raised their ratings, compared to only 24 percent of non-TAP schools. In the year prior to implementation, only 14 percent of the TAP schools had improved their ratings.

Among the study’s other findings:
—Two-thirds of classroom teachers surveyed say TAP makes a positive difference in student achievement.
—69 percent of classroom teachers believe TAP has increased the classroom support they receive.
—Administrators in TAP schools agree almost unanimously that the evaluation process helps teachers improve.

The Indiana schools using TAP include charter and traditional public elementary, middle, and high schools, some urban and some rural, all with more than half of their students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. Overall, the program supports more than 1,700 teachers and administrators. TAP in Indiana is funded primarily by a five-year, $48-million federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant to the Indiana Department of Education. The state selected CELL to administer and support the program through training sessions, coaching site visits and a network of coordinators who assist schools with implementation. TAP was launched by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching in 1999 and has proven successful in other states. It includes research-based elements seen as significant changes to how schools have traditionally operated, such as a rigorous teacher evaluation process and the awarding of performance pay to teachers based on both classroom observations and student achievement and growth measures. The system requires that 75 percent of teachers vote to approve TAP before it can be implemented in a school. It also includes features intended to develop and retain talented teachers in high-need schools, including ongoing professional development and opportunities for career advancement as mentor or master teachers who receive higher salaries to help lead school improvement and professional development efforts.

Education MBA is model for national program

The University of Indianapolis is one of just two institutions nationwide selected by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation to pilot a new master’s degree program that could change the way principals and administrators are prepared to manage the challenges facing our schools. With the first cohort of 15 fellows entering the UIndy program this summer, the Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership is intended to close achievement gaps, not only between low- and high-performing schools but also between top-performing U.S. schools and those around the world. It is one of the first of its kind and a model for a planned national expansion. Intended for aspiring principals and superintendents, the program blends transformational education coursework and a tailored business curriculum with intensive clinical experience in schools, corporations, and nonprofits, as well as involvement with innovative schools abroad. It is designed to prepare leaders who will drive innovation, expand the use of analytics and evidence-based practices, raise student performance to international standards, and improve the quality of school systems and teaching over time.

UIndy’s 13-month program was designed collaboratively by faculty from the School of Business and School of Education, drawing from best practices in both disciplines to craft a groundbreaking approach that helps educational leaders face the new landscape of school choice and competition. The team was led by Associate Professor of Finance Rachel Smith and Associate Professor of Teacher Education John Somers, in consultation with colleagues and local school administrators. Candidates for the program are education professionals nominated by their school districts or charter school leaders. In essence, those school systems are partnering with UIndy to establish internal pipelines and cultivate new leaders. Each fellow receives a $50,000 stipend that covers tuition, technology, international travel, and some living expenses. In exchange, each fellow agrees to serve in a leadership role in a school or district for at least three years, with Foundation-supported mentoring. A group of nearly 40 Indiana school and district leaders has been assembled to serve on the program’s Leadership Development Team.

Two institutions, UIndy and the Milwaukee School of Engineering, were selected for the program launch. The initial funding for UIndy is approximately $3 million over three years. The WW MBA in Education Leadership draws on the Woodrow Wilson foundation’s experience with its state teaching fellowship, which recruits able candidates to teach math and science in high-need schools and also works to transform teacher education. UIndy was one of four Indiana universities selected to pilot the Teaching Fellowship, which since its 2009 debut has expanded to more than 20 universities in five states.