Teaching Excellence organizes its program around five core development experiences. These experiences serve as the vehicle for learning the foundational elements of effective teaching:
Induction is the foundation of teacher learning and development. This experience takes place in the summer and lasts two and a half weeks. The goal of Induction is for teachers to be prepared to set up a strong classroom culture, establish routines and procedures, and begin the work of planning and internalizing aligned lessons.
Teacher Development Saturdays
An immense amount of learning must take place to become an effective teacher. While Induction lays the foundation, this learning must continue over the course of the year. Teachers participate in Teacher Development Saturdays (TDS) once a month, to continue developing their knowledge and skills around instructional best practices. These experiences provide opportunities not only for teachers to become aware of best practices but actually implement these practices in their work.
Professional Learning Modules
Online Professional Learning Modules (PLMs) provide teachers with exposure to a wide-range of topics. These experiences are self-guided and may include reading and reflecting on an article, implementing high impact strategies into an upcoming lesson, or doing a case study on a student or group of students. PLMs do not follow a particular sequence, so teachers are able to choose experiences that match their current stage of development in the classroom.
Instructional coaching is the cornerstone of the Teaching Excellence Program. Each Teaching Excellence Instructional Coach works with a cohort of about 17 teachers. The relatively small size of cohorts allows for frequent and regular touch points throughout the year. Through observations and debriefs and a variety of other methods, Instructional Coaches provide individualized support that is tailored to the specific needs of their teachers.
The core development experiences listed above serve two purposes: First, they provide multiple avenues for novice teachers to master the foundational elements of teaching. Second, with formal admission, each contributes to the requirements necessary to obtain a standard teaching certificate in the State of Texas. The certification team of the Teaching Excellence Program provides certification candidates with guidance around timelines, test preparation, and costs associated with certification. Additionally, individualized updates are provided throughout the year to inform candidates of their progress towards obtaining a Texas Standard Certificate.