Congratulations to the 2019-2020 Trinity Master of Arts in Teaching Graduates

City Education Partners Fellows complete their teaching residency and commit to teach in San Antonio

Trinity University's Master of Arts in Teaching 2019 graduates came together to present their action research as part of their final senior capstone project. Rachel Mercer-Smith with City Education Partners is pictured far left with Trinity Professor Angela Breidenstein and seven of the eight graduates.

With so much to be excited about, it’s hard to believe that San Antonio ISD’s Advanced Learning Academy (ALA) has only completed its third school year. We’ve seen the campus grow, adapt, and make significant progress toward its goals.

In 2016-2017, Trinity University and SAISD partnered to launch ALA with two purposes: create an innovative school for students in the city’s urban core; and create a lab school where teachers and school leaders could train and prepare future teachers and leaders.

These future teachers and leaders make up a yearly cohort of teachers and principals in training, the CEP Fellows. This year, the cohort included eight teachers graduating from Trinity University’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program this spring. Through the CEP Fellowship program these “teacher interns” receive financial incentives for their commitment to work within SAISD after their graduation.

As CEP Fellows, the teacher interns are committed to staying in SAISD, and they are encouraged to pursue high-need certification areas: secondary content, special education, English as a second language.

“I am looking forward to having the chance to work with a diverse group of students in a supportive district,” said Lindsay Burton, a cohort member certified in early childhood-sixth grade, and special education.  

The MAT program, designed and led by Trinity University at ALA and now Lamar Elementary, is an eleven-month program where teacher interns work side-by-side with mentor teachers on the school campuses. The teacher interns benefit from extended student teaching so they can move beyond “guest status” in the classrooms where they are interning.

“This year I really enjoyed getting to know my students over an extended period of time,” said cohort member Reilly Brown, who is certified in secondary social studies. “I spent over one semester with my students, and I formed solid relationships with the majority of them.”

Both of ALA’s goals are right in line with City Education Partners’ mission to promote innovative school models serving students in low-income areas and to fill the urban core with highly effective teachers.

Teacher residencies, like the models implemented in partnership with Trinity University, ALA, and Lamar Elementary, are a research-based model of teacher preparation with multiple goals:

  • Create a vehicle to recruit teachers for high-need fields and locations.

  • Offer recruits strong content and clinical preparation within a school context.

  • Connect new teachers to early career mentoring that will keep them in the profession.

  • Provide financial incentives that will keep teachers in the districts that have invested in them. Read supporting report

While MAT interns complete their training year, they earn a stipend, and they receive incentives to retain within San Antonio ISD. MAT’s earn tuition loan forgiveness for every year they remain a teacher in SAISD for up to three years following graduation.

Lab schools are also huge wins for kids. Students receive the knowledge and experience of the mentor teachers, and the excitement and fresh eyes and additional support of the teacher interns, all in one classroom.

As she graduates from the MAT program, Sarah Lane plans to channel that enthusiasm into work with the school’s garden, and continued learning under a “strong principal leader.” At the same time, she--like many of her fellow MAT graduates-- is ready to take off the training wheels, and start putting her learning to work in the classroom.

“I am looking forward to developing my own classroom culture and supporting the growth and learning of my students in both academics and in social and emotional wellbeing,” Lane said.  

Because we know that effective teachers make a huge difference in student outcomes, CEP considers this among our most vital investments. Looking to the future, we celebrate the work of these educators, and the impact they will have on their students.

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