ID Boise State Writing Project Reframes Fellowships for Teacher Development

Nov 17, 2015
Posted by: laurroop

Leaders from the Boise State Writing Project have sharpened the coaching plans for demonstrations in a bid to increase the quality and open new presentation opportunities:

Though coaching has continued unabated in the eight weeks between the pre-institute and the institute, we begin on day one with coaching meetings.  Our first two demonstrations occur during this week and we reflect intensively upon these.  The retreat is a time for all the rest of the demos to be finalized and for teaching principles to be agreed upon.  No one leaves the retreat without feeling confident and competent regarding her teaching demonstration.

After demo presentations, the coaching group (a director and 4 or 5 of the fellows) reflects together on how to move forward with the demo. All three coaching groups write a letter outlining strengths and things to think about for future iterations of the demo.  Our in-service director, Paula Uriarte, attends several days of the ISI and talks with each fellow about presentation possibilities.

This process has resulted in increasingly higher quality demos, and an increasing number of fellows becoming active TCs who present their work throughout the state and at our workshops and conferences.

By re-framing slightly, the site has also succeeded in keeping new teacher-consultants involved, and continuing to build their leadership capacities:

An additional improvement we have made over the years is in framing the NWP fellowship as a “fellowship year”.  When invited to participate, potential fellows sign a contract that outlines obligations for the ISI and throughout the next fellowship year.  Each fellow commits to an individual and to a fellowship year initiative (e.g. running the website, planning the orientation meetings, etc.)  We have regular continuation meetings including informal get togethers, book groups, TC trainings to prepare for PD, shadowing of experienced presenters, a required fall follow up meeting, a fall conference, a spring conference, and the final spring follow up and orientation meetings.  Our attendance has been very good at these events, and the fellows engage responsibly in their individual and group initiatives throughout the year.

We have found that this new emphasis has kept more of our fellows involved, not just through the fellowship year, but beyond it – since they are already involved in our ongoing continuation and in-service programming and make many friends from other fellowship years.