NEWARK, NJ– March 3, 2015 – Newark Public Schools (NPS) today announced a partnership with the Relay Graduate School of Education (GSE) naming it a district-approved program. This recognition will encourage Newark District teachers to participate in Relay’s new one-year Program of Effective Teachers to advance their teaching skills. Newark teachers may also enroll in two of Relay’s other established programs: the two-year Master of Arts in Teaching degree or the one-year Graduate Alternate Route Certification program. Through a new arrangement between teachers and the District, teachers will be eligible to receive up to $20,000 for participating in the programs.
“Since Relay’s inception we have been eager and excited to expand our work with teachers in our Newark district schools,” said James Verrilli, Dean of the Relay GSE programs in Newark. “We love Newark, teaching and teachers, and we believe education is a powerful tool for social justice for the children of Newark. We understand that great teachers are developed, not born, and that every teacher has the capacity to be great.”
NPS teachers will follow Relay’s rigorous academic program which emphasizes learning, practicing, and performing concrete, highly-effective teaching practices. Relay classes are taught by professors who themselves were outstanding urban K-12 teachers and leaders. With 60% of instruction conducted in-person and 40% of instruction delivered online, the Relay hybrid teaching model provides graduate students with convenient, high-impact learning experiences. Teachers demonstrate their ability to drive student achievement through innovative, performance-based video assessments. Relay’s master’s degree program is the first ever to require graduate students to demonstrate teaching proficiency and achievement in the classroom in order to earn their degree.
In its quest to have the highest–caliber employees working with Newark’s children, the teachers of NPS ratified a collective bargaining agreement in November 2012 that laid out new approaches to ensuring the continuous improvement of teacher quality and support in the district. One provision in this ground-breaking contract focuses on rewarding teachers for participation in district-approved programs that improve their practice and deepen their understanding of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
Specifically, teachers completing a district-approved program aligned to district priorities and Common Core State Standards are entitled to total reward compensation of up to $20,000: $10,000 for completing the program, and $10,000 for serving in NPS for an additional 3 years (Memorandum of Agreement Section IIB. 2d).
In addition to this reward from the district, Relay Newark is working to raise scholarship funds. By offering low-cost tuition for Newark teachers, Relay is doing its part to ensure that as many educators as possible are able to participate in this valuable professional development opportunity.
Relay was selected by Newark Public Schools as an approved program through an open, public Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the district last June (#6497). To qualify, Relay had to demonstrate an ability to meet the District’s rigorous criteria, including:
- Programs that have a proven track record of producing educators that improve student learning
- Coursework that supports the skills articulated in the Framework for Effective Teaching, with a heavy focus on practice and application
- Coursework that focuses on the skills and content knowledge necessary to teach Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
- Programs that prioritize pedagogy that takes into consideration the needs of diverse learners, including: motivating students, cultural competence and literacy strategies
- Programs that have a proven track record of producing effective educators in the fields of Special Education and/or Alternative Education
Newark teachers will join over 150 teachers currently enrolled in Relay Newark’s programs and will become part of a network of 1,200 teachers participating in Relay programs in five cities across the nation. To learn more about Relay Newark and the Program for Effective Teachers, visit the Relay Newark campus page.
About Relay Graduate School of Education
The Relay Graduate School of Education is a national, accredited, nonprofit institution of higher education whose mission is to teach teachers and school leaders to develop in all students the academic skills and strength of character needed to succeed in college and life. Now operating in five sites across the country, Relay is excited to bring about transformational change in teacher preparation, becoming the place where a new generation of continuously-improving, results-focused individuals can fulfill their destiny in the world’s greatest profession. For more information, please visit the Relay website (www.relay.edu) or follow Relay on Twitter (@RelayGSE).