URBAN TEACHERS PROGRAM STRUCTURE
Urban Teachers was founded in 2009 to improve new teacher quality in two of the highest-need districts in the nation: Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC. Urban Teachers has since opened sites in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (in 2016) and Philadelphia, PA (in 2022). The Urban Teachers national office is located in Baltimore and supports all four sites. Each city site has local offices and a site team that works directly with the aspiring educators and new teachers in their region.
Urban Teachers is one of the most thorough teacher preparation programs in the nation, providing its participants a year-long Residency, a two-year Master of Arts in Teaching program in partnership with American University, three years of one-on-one coaching, and four years of experience working in high-needs classrooms. Participants who complete the program and four-year teaching commitment are prepared with the tools and skills needed to be an effective urban teacher. This is an investment that pays off for our teachers and their students.
Urban Teachers refers to its first-year participants as “Residents” and its second-, third-, and fourth-year participants as “Fellows.” Urban Teachers refers to the first year of its program as a “Residency.” Please be aware that local school systems and state departments may use alternative terminology when describing program participants, host schools, host teachers, and clinical faculty/coaches. Additionally, terminology for teaching credentials/certification may vary by state.
Program Year Alignment with Participant Status
YEAR 1 – THE RESIDENCY YEAR
The program begins with a 14-month Residency experience with extensive one-on-one coaching in a clinical classroom setting. Residents work alongside a host teacher during the day, receive coaching support from highly-trained Urban Teachers instructional coaches, then take practice-based master’s level courses after the school day. The Residency school year is bookended by two different summer experiences referred to as “Summer A” (prior to the Residency school year) and “Summer B” (between the Residency school year and the first fellow year).
Residents become deeply integrated into the work of supporting students during their first year in the Urban Teachers program. They conduct one-to-one and group assessments, lead mini-lesson teaching, analyze student work and student data, teach small groups, and lead whole-class instruction. Residents also participate in practicum experiences that are designed to provide an opportunity to work intensively with a small group of students from the host classroom. The Residency year includes approximately 9 weeks of student teaching. The student teaching experiences give Residents the opportunity to develop and practice their instructional and classroom management skills in a whole-class setting. All of these clinical experiences derive from the content and skills that Residents are learning in their graduate coursework and coaching interactions.
YEAR 2 & 3 – THE FELLOW YEARS
After Summer B ends, participants who meet all Residency year expectations and program requirements and receive a fall teaching position at an approved partner school in a subject or area that aligns with the content area of their program of study become Fellows and teachers of record. For many, the years as a teacher of record are completed at the same school as the Residency year. In other instances, however, due to a variety of circumstances, a participant’s fellow years may be completed in a different partner school from their Residency year school. Fellows are employees of the school districts or charter management organizations (CMOs) in which they are hired as full-time teachers at the beginning of Program Year 2. Fellows must hold initial teaching credentials (see Program Year Alignment with Participant Status chart above for actual terminology by state) for their first two years as teachers of record (Program Years 2 and 3).
During the first Fellow year as a teacher of record, coursework is scaled back, as the majority of the master’s-level coursework was completed during the Residency year. During the second fellow year, coursework is complete, but coaching continues. In Program Years 2 & 3, Fellows receive ongoing, regular guidance and instruction through coaching across the school year that includes a wide range of coaching experiences.
In Dallas/Fort Worth, the Texas Education Agency refers to these program years as the “Internship.”
YEAR 4 – THE TEACHING COMMITMENT YEAR
At the conclusion of Program Year 3, Fellows are recommended for full teacher credentials, after having completed all program performance expectations and program requirements. Opportunities in the teaching commitment year and beyond continually develop as the Urban Teachers cohorts grow. These include opportunities to serve as Summer Institute graduate assistants, coaches, mentors, and host teachers.