How Dell Helps Train Charter School Teachers

Being a rookie teacher is a challenging, even intimidating, experience. Newly degreed teachers, fresh out of college, must face a room of 20 or more students, which may include the unruly and unmotivated. In addition to the classroom, teachers may face long hours helping students outside of school, planning lessons, and grading papers. What's more, many teachers' future employment is explicitly tied to the academic performance of their students. No pressure, right? No wonder many teachers leave the profession within five years.

With studies showing that many charter schools are more likely to employ novice teachers, it is essential for these teachers to have the skills needed to handle the stresses and challenges of classroom teaching. Recognizing this need, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation has provided grant funding to a novice teacher "boot camp" operated by Match Education, a charter management organization in Boston.

To better prepare fresh-faced college graduates for the rigors of teaching, Match operates its Match Teacher Residency program, a two-year residency designed to produce high-quality rookie teachers. The Dell Foundation provided Match with $100,000 in funding to plan and test the feasibility of a distilled version of this program, which will be known as the Rookie Teacher Academy. The Rookie Teacher Academy will be an intensive 200-day version of the Match Teacher Residency and is a summer program aimed at recent graduates of schools of education. Through the program, Match Education hopes to take recent education school graduates steeped in pedagogy and education theory, and mold them into quality novice teachers ready to deliver instruction and motivate students in Match's charter schools, as well as other charters with which Match works.

The Dell Foundation provided this grant under its Urban Education program, one of the funder's largest giving initiatives. The Urban Education program at Dell strives to close achievement gaps and boost high school graduation rates. One avenue for achieving these goals is through human capital programs that train educators and school leaders. Although Dell's education dollars do not target charters exclusively, they represent an important part of the foundation's education giving. High-performing charter schools and charter networks with ideas for teacher training or using data in ways that lead to higher student performance should get to know this funder.