About The YES Prep Teaching Excellence Program
A first year teacher development and certification program, Teaching Excellence provides rigorous and relevant training and individualized support that increases the path of development for new teachers. Proven and adopted by schools aiming for higher standards, Teaching Excellence is responsible for more than 200 teachers serving YES Prep, KIPP Houston, and Spring Branch ISD.
Goals of the Teaching Excellence Program Include:
- Grow teacher effectiveness in year one
- Increase student achievement
- Maximize campus and teacher engagement
Teaching Excellence is a four-part model which includes:
Induction is the foundation of all teacher learning and development in the first year. With the goal of having each teacher fully prepared, for two weeks teachers and coaches work together to prepare for setting up classroom culture, plan lessons, and operate as education professionals. This two-week phase takes place in July and brings together all of the Teaching Excellence cohort members.
2. Instructional Coaching
In Instructional Coaching, each new teacher is paired with an instructional coach to work with throughout the first year. Coaches, who are selected from a pool of high-performing teachers, act as mentors, guiding new teachers through a curriculum that includes core skill-building, tactics for day-to-day problem solving, and tailored personal development. YES Prep has a cadre of Instructional Coaches who work with a panel of approximately 15 teachers throughout the year. They observe classes, debrief lessons, plan together, and use a wide variety of coaching strategies and skills that allow for teachers to receive feedback on an ongoing basis.
3. Professional Learning Saturdays and Professional Learning Modules
An immense amount of learning must take place in the first stages of a teacher’s career. To accelerate that learning, each month teachers gather together for Professional Learning Saturday (PLS), which consists of a focus on content pedagogy as well as their instructional and cultural needs as teachers. PLS courses are taught by master teachers and Instructional Coaches, who work to create an experience of learning for teachers as well as provide an opportunity to collaborate. In addition, Professional Learning Modules offer an online learning opportunity to maximize first-year teacher effectiveness and receive feedback on lesson planning and instruction from an Instructional Coach.
4. Data Driven Coaching & Learning
We are constantly assessing our program in a variety of ways. We ask ourselves these questions frequently: How are our students learning? What areas of instruction are our teachers excelling at in the classroom? Where do we need to focus our energy as facilitators and coaches? How are we as a program functioning and providing a quality experience? This cycle of investigation keeps us grounded and focused on improvement.