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New York City
October 2003

First Lady Laura Bush & Washington Mutual Unveil Initiative at Mercy College

First Lady Laura Bush and New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein joined officials from The New Teacher Project (TNTP) and Washington Mutual recently to unveil a new initiative to help mid-career professionals realize their dream of becoming a teacher. Supported by a $1.25 million grant from Washington Mutual, the Teaching for Results initiative, a component of the Mercy College New Teacher Residency Program, will help hundreds of New York City professionals from many different career and educational backgrounds bring their expertise to New York City classrooms. Participants in the New Teacher Residency Program will take part in a rigorous two-year Masters and Certification program, which provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful teachers.

“At Mercy, we have integrated the Teaching for Results program into our unique practiced based curriculum developed for the New York City Teaching Fellows,” Dr. Lucie Lapovsky, President of Mercy College stated. “Last summer more than 150 students participated in the program and this year there will be more than 800 students who will benefit from the unique partnership among The New Teacher’s Project, The Department of Education, Washington Mutual and Mercy College. This partnership has resulted in the development of a new approach to preparing teachers which should result in the development of outstanding, transformational teachers.”

The Teaching for Results initiative makes the necessary link between teacher recruitment and on-the-job teacher effectiveness and continued professional development. Recruiting qualified individuals to teach is just the first step. Ensuring that these individuals stay and succeed in the classroom is an even bigger challenge. According to recent statistics, nearly 15 percent of teachers leave after the first year of teaching; that number climbs to nearly 50 percent after the first five years. Teaching for Results is designed to help newcomers get over the initial hurdles and get through the subsequent years by giving them the classroom skills they need to make teaching a long-term career.

Michelle Rhee, CEO and President of The New Teacher Project thanked First Lady Laura Bush, Chancellor Klein and Washington Mutual for their “support and recognition of Teaching for Results’ unique approach to ensuring the lasting success of our teachers. Since 1997, when The New Teacher Project first started recruiting professionals interested in changing careers to teach, we’ve learned some important lessons about the need to provide teachers with more support in their first year in the classroom.”

As part of the Teaching for Results initiative, participants will learn how to translate the knowledge they have gained, either from their previous career or from their own education, into effective ways to communicate and relate with students, which is the essence of teaching. Simply put, Teaching for Results will not waste time teaching chemical engineers about chemistry, but rather focus on the specific teaching skills it takes to engage and educate a classroom of high school students about chemistry. Initiative participants will also receive critical lessons in classroom management that are specific to the subject (English, math, science) and the grade level (elementary, middle school or high school) they teach. This dual approach, the art of teaching, coupled with subject-specific classroom management is what makes Teaching for Results different from other initiatives.

In addition to New York City, two other cities, Atlanta and Los Angeles will also participate in the Teaching for Results initiative. In order to ensure the success of the initiative, TNTP has worked with partners in each of the three participating cities including Mercy College, Los Angeles Unified School District and Atlanta Public Schools to recruit local individuals who are highly qualified and motivated to become teachers. Teaching for Results has chosen a group of participants who not only possess an impressive level of expertise in many different professions, but also come from diverse backgrounds. In New York City, the local Teaching for Results partner is Mercy College.

“Washington Mutual’s sponsorship of Teaching for Results provides us with a perfect opportunity to carry on our tradition of supporting programs that further the teaching profession in our country,” said Donna Wilson, Northeast Community Affairs President of Washington Mutual. “This grant will help teachers succeed by helping them translate what they know into learning for students. We can think of no better way to leverage the experience and knowledge these teachers bring to New York City classrooms—and we are grateful for their commitment.”

Chancellor Klein said, “Great teachers make all the difference for a school and great teaching is, quite simply, the key to raising student achievement. By becoming New York City Teaching Fellows, these new teachers have made an extraordinary commitment to our children.”

“For too long, children in our nation’s cities have suffered from a lack of highly qualified teachers in their highest needs schools, especially in the areas of math, science and special education,” said Lucie Lapovsky, President of Mercy College. “By redesigning and overseeing the certification program for teaching candidates from nontraditional backgrounds, Mercy College is helping to provide more than 750 teachers who are not only qualified and motivated, but for the most part were raised in the same communities where they will teach.”

This past summer, 150 students participated in coursework that integrated the Teaching for Results seminar. During the upcoming year, over 800 participants are expected to take part in the New York City, Mercy College Teaching for Results program.#

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