DPSCD launches $5 million teacher mentorship partnership

The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) announced a $5 million initiative toward a mentorship program for new district teachers.

The New Teacher Center (NTC) will bring its evidence-based professional learning program to DPSCD as part of its Blueprint 2020 priority to boost “exceptional talent” in the district. GreenLight Fund’s initial $650,000 contribution to NTC will lead to $5 million in additional support for DPSCD teachers over the next five years.

“Through their direct engagement with the DPSCD, GreenLight Fund tackled one of our strategic plan priorities, exceptional talent, which includes recruiting, retaining, and investing in talent development,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent of DPSCD. “Although we have dramatically increased the number of teacher hires and reduced teacher vacancies, we knew that one of our gaps was supporting first year teachers while finding ways to offer our veteran teachers to grow professionally without becoming administrators. We needed to ensure beginning teachers stay with the district to see a greater long-term investment and impact on our students.”

While GreenLight Fund’s research process and financial contribution has allowed the DPSCD to bring NTC in as a partner, DPSCD is also investing in its success. Using district funds, mentor teachers will receive a $700 stipend from the district and be additionally compensated for their four-day institute as well as each one-hour weekly session with one or two new teachers. The mentor role will be a pipeline for developing future master teachers.

Through the partnership, about 100 veteran teachers have been identified to serve as mentors, working with the new district teachers as they acclimate.

“Veteran teachers, who serve as resources to new teachers, can develop less experienced teachers,” said Dr. Vitti. “This is happening because GreenLight Fund selected New Teacher Center with our collaboration and the partnership reflects the alignment we need to see to maximize resources to best support new teachers and students.”

New Teacher Center developed a tailored program aligned to the district’s vision for excellent instruction to build capacity to support new teachers through the development of teacher mentors. This professional learning model provides school-based mentors with job-embedded, evidence-based support, rooted in academic, social, and emotional learning competencies. The veteran, peer Teacher Mentors learn to deliver instructionally-focused, one-to-one support and actionable feedback to new teachers through observation, analysis of student work, and comprehensive data to accelerate educator leadership, teaching practice, and student learning.

“We know first-hand the profound impact that educators have in their students’ lives,” said Desmond Blackburn, Chief Executive Officer of NTC. “We also know the challenges that teachers and school leaders face when working to meet the diverse needs of their students. The district’s Blueprint 2020 core values of equity, students first, excellence, and integrity are directly aligned to our organization’s mission and through a commitment to professional learning, we will work together to accelerate educators’ instructional practice and prepare them to meet these needs so that the students of Detroit excel.”

Through a yearlong process focused on educator effectiveness and retention, GreenLight Fund and DPSCD identified NTC as the strongest, evidence-based program to build the capacity of Detroit teachers. In 2018 GreenLight Fund convened a coalition of Detroit residents, investors, and leaders who work collectively to improve economic mobility for low-income children and families. GreenLight Fund canvased community needs to identify this specific gap and then searched the nation for proven, innovative approaches before ultimately investing in the expansion of NTC to the District.

“Detroit families want their children’s educators to have the tools and support to succeed and research shows that teachers are the most critical school-based factor for determining outcomes for students, “  said Rishi Moudgil, Executive Director of GreenLight Fund Detroit. “Along with other important district progress, our vision is that every new teacher in our public schools will be supported through NTC’s best-in-class model.”

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