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A New Pathway for Teacher Training

October 30, 2017

Today’s sponsored post is written by Urban Teachers. Urban Teachers is a clinically-based teacher training program that offers future teachers long-term coaching and mentoring as they earn a master’s degree in education and hone their skills in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Dallas-Fort Worth classrooms. AmeriCorps provides some Urban Teachers participants with grants that offset the cost of graduate school or existing student loans by as much as $11,550.   


Alyessa Soden had many options when it came to choosing a teacher training program.

Alyessa knew she wanted to work with children and shape the lives of future generations, but she also wanted a program that provided a first-rate education and the coaching she’d need to get through her first years of teaching. Ultimately she decided that Urban Teachers was the right option for her.

Urban Teachers is a four-year teacher preparation program for college graduates that demands participants meet rigorous academic and performance standards, while offering high-quality coaching, mentoring and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Education.

“There are a lot of really good teacher prep programs,” says Alyessa, who is 26, fromUT_2017 Northwest Arkansas and has an undergraduate degree in child development. “But I chose Urban Teachers specifically because the master’s program is really incredible.”

Alyessa is in her second year with Urban Teachers. Right now she’s teaching sixth grade English in West Dallas. For the next few years she’ll receive intensive coaching as she focuses on becoming a leader in her school.

Here’s how Urban Teachers works:

Resident Year: Following a clinical model, participants work alongside an experienced classroom teacher in an urban school in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. or Dallas-Fort Worth. At night they take master’s-level courses.

Fellow Year 1: This year our teachers get their own classroom, start earning a salary and finish their master’s degree classes in their host city through Johns Hopkins University. Professors serve as coaches to help work through classroom challenges.

Fellow Year 2: In the second fellow year, coursework is complete, but coaching and mentoring continue as participants solidify their classroom practice.

Fellow Year 3: By now, our participants are leaders in their schools and focused on growing their careers and supporting the communities they teach in. Coaching and mentoring is available to help participants as they grow into their school roles.

Alyessa says that this support and coaching have made a significant difference in her teaching practice, but that getting master’s degree from a US News & World Report top ten program like Hopkins is also invaluable.

And thanks to a partnership with AmeriCorps, paying for the program has gotten easier for Alyessa and her classmates.

She is one of hundreds of Urban Teachers participants who have received the AmeriCorps Segal Education Award. The grant, which is awarded in two annual installments of $5,775, can be used to pay for tuition at JHU or to repay student loans from previous coursework.

“AmeriCorps really gives vision for why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Alyessa says. “I applied [the Segal Award] to my student loans this year and it’s super beneficial for me to be able to take a deep breath and know that I can continue my education.”

But the financial incentives of Urban Teachers, which also include a $20,000 stipend during the residency year and a guaranteed job in year two, come in addition to a number of significant benefits.

“One thing Urban Teachers does really well is teaching teachers to be culturally sensitive and to involve students in their learning,” Alyessa said. “Implementing that into my practice has really brought a lot of fun and joy into the classroom.”

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