"What makes a good teacher? It's a person who has a passion for knowledge and the subject that they teach, for the community, and for the kids."
Research shows that the single greatest predictor of student achievement is teacher quality. In addition to providing volunteers to fill teacher requests for help in the classroom and public action campaigns like Thank a Teacher Today we also invest in teacher professional development.
Innovative Professional Development - Instructional Rounds
Instructional rounds pairs SFUSD teachers with professors at San Francisco State University to build the knowledge and skills of the group around an identified problem of practice. The teachers observe each other and provide feedback to strengthen instruction.
Instructional Rounds are based upon the work of Dr. Richard Elmore, who adapted for education, the professional practice of conducting medical rounds. The basic premise of Instructional Rounds is that people best learn about the meaning of high quality instruction by observing teachers, students and the work students are asked to do, followed by meaningful conversation and analysis. Specific protocols focus the conversation on the link between instruction and learning. The process is thoughtfully designed to avoid talk of “good” or “poor” teachers. Considerable time is spent observing the students. The focus is always about “What is going on in a classroom that is causing the students to be highly engaged in challenging work?” When implemented as envisioned, the practice results in systemic improvement, developed through distributed instructional leadership that is focused on all students learning well. To learn more contact our Postsecondary Success Coordinator.
Professional Development on Teachers' Terms
We are partnering with Fund for Teachers to award San Francisco PreK-12 teachers with fellowships for self-designed professional growth.
Each Fund for Teachers fellowship is as unique as the teacher who designed it, and since 2001, approximately 5,000 teachers have been awarded $17.8 million in Fund for Teachers grants-up to $5,000 for individuals, or $10,000 for teams. Fund for Teachers fellowships have taken place in 124 countries on every continent, empowering teachers to explore countless ideas, terrains, and cultures.
The Fund for Teachers fellowship application was due on January 31, 2013. The applications are currently being reviewed and the awardees will be notified in April.
Fellowships have included:
- Kayaking the entire length of the Lower Mississippi River to conduct scientific research and develop a river ecology unit;
- Learning excavation skills on an archeological dig with the Israeli Antiquities Department in Israel, in order to construct a 50x50x6 tri-level dig site on campus, back in the US, to be used by K-12 students;
- Attending the Teachers Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University to explore different theories of literacy, in order to re-build an elementary reading program from the ground up, and
- Studying China's ethnic minorities to gain a better understanding of what it means to be "Chinese," and to develop this understanding into curriculum at America's first English/Mandarin dual-language school.
San Francisco Teacher Residency
In 2008 the San Francisco Education Fund played a leading role in bringing one of the first urban teacher residencies to the West Coast to transform how teachers are prepared to serve in San Francisco’s hardest to staff subjects and schools.
As lead partner in this unique collaborative with San Francisco Unified School District, University of San Francisco, Stanford University and the United Educators of San Francisco, the Education Fund nurtured the San Francisco Teacher Residency (SFTR) in its early stages of development and provided support to the program through its launch year to the present. SFTR is now on strong footing both programmatically and financially. As of June 30, 2012 SFTR moved from the Education Fund. The program will physically be housed at SFUSD to work more closely with the district as part of their human capital strategy.
Visit SFTR’s new website: sfteacherresidency.org