A non-profit dedicated to bringing higher caliber teachers into typically underserved classrooms is attempting to further its mission by hosting some of the top students from the country’s best universities at the 2013 National Intern Teachers recruitment campaign. The campaign will result in a six-week summer program aimed at drawing the country’s best young people to a career in teaching, with the Breakthrough Collaborative inviting students from Ivy League universities, historically black colleges, and other competitive schools in an attempt to convince them to dedicate their life to K-12 education.
Although bringing highly-effective teachers into underachieving classrooms for five straight years would go a long way to closing the persistent achievement gaps plaguing America’s education system, the odds are very long – 17,000 to 1 to be precise, the website states – of this happening naturally. The recruitment drive is an attempt to improve these odds by getting those who might have never considered teaching as a career to give a life in the classroom some thought.
“Through our unique Intern Teacher program, Breakthrough continues to develop and sustain the new generation of teachers in hope for a better tomorrow,” said Executive Director of Breakthrough Greater Boston, Elissa Spelman. “Because a teacher’s influence on student achievement is 20 times greater than any other variable, including class size and student poverty, the caliber of intern teachers we recruit, train and support is key to our students’ success.” Breakthrough’s most recent cohort had an average GPA of 3.5 and 65% were from selective colleges, as compared with 7% of teachers in public schools. Additionally, 58% of Breakthrough’s intern teachers were of color, compared to a 16% average in public schools.
Breakthrough’s program is aimed at not just putting more teachers into schools, but making sure that those who graduate from its intensive training program – which includes over 100 hours of instruction and 360 hours of in-class practice – are well-prepared to make a real difference in underserved middle schools. Of the 746 candidates who took part in the program last year, more than three-quarters expressed the goal to make education their career of choice.
“Breakthrough is a unique, rigorous and practical teacher training program that enables high- achieving college students to explore teaching early,” said Josh Biber, Executive Director of Teach for America Greater Boston, a Teacher Pipeline Partner with Breakthrough. “The results of high-quality professional development and early exposure to the field of education are great and students who teach at Breakthrough enter our nation’s classrooms with the skills, perspective, and work ethic that it takes to stay in the field and become phenomenal urban educators.”