This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Four School District of Philadelphia educators have been selected to attend national seminars at Yale University this summer.
These teachers are fellows of the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia (TIP), a partnership between the University of Pennsylvania and the School District of Philadelphia. The selected fellows will attend the annual national seminars presented by the Yale National Initiative.
The dual purposes of the national seminars are to provide public school teachers deeper knowledge of the subjects they teach and first-hand experience with the Teachers Institute’s approach to high-quality professional development.
The four fellows are:
- Deborah Smithey – a science teacher at Simon Gratz High School (seminar: "Organs and Artificial Organs"),
- Stacia Parker – an English and journalism teacher at Parkway West High School (seminar: "The Art of Reading People"),
- Patricia Mitchell-Keita-Doe – a science and social studies teacher at Tilden Middle School (seminar: "The Idea of America"), and
- Troy Holiday – a science teacher at Wagner Middle school (seminar: "Great Ideas of Primary Mathematics").
The program begins with an orientation on May 6, and includes intensive seminar sessions convening from July 11 to 22 on the Yale campus. The four TIP fellows are among the 84 teachers from 22 districts in 11 states, including five Institute cities and those in the process of planning and organizing institute programs, to have been chosen to participate in the seminars.
Each participating teacher writes a curriculum unit to teach his or her students and to share with other teachers in their school district and, over the Internet, with teachers internationally. The curriculum units address the academic standards of the teachers’ districts and assist the teachers in engaging and educating the students in their studies.
The four 2011 fellows now bring the total of TIP teachers who have attended the Yale program to 18 over the past six years.
Last summer I participated in the Yale National Initiative seminar, Persuasion in Democratic Politics. I developed the curriculum unit, “Barack Obama’s Rhetoric: The Trajectory of a Post-Racial America?” which I am currently co-teaching with a 7th grade teacher at Beeber Middle School.
Fellows report that the experience is rigorous and academically challenging. Smithey, who is returning to Yale National Initiative for her second year, notes that the program is one of the best professional development opportunities which she has ever undertaken. She participated in the seminar "Evolutionary Medicine" and was so eager share her unit "AIDS in Teenage Community" that she begin teaching this timely subject at start of this academic school year.
The Yale National Initiative site has info about programs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, and Delaware, and access to curriculum units created by all of the national teacher fellows.