The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has awarded the Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) in partnership with Dallas Teacher Residency (DTR) a 2-year grant in the amount of $500,000 to support and scale the How I Know: Designing Meaningful Formative Assessment Practice Project. The project was created in an effort to improve and impact formative assessment for teachers and students.
The How I Know project will follow the journey of three pilot districts: Dallas ISD, Austin Independent School District and Tulsa Public schools, as they identify, scale and share successful approaches for designing formative assessment practice in classrooms. In Dallas specifically, the project scope will initially target 20 K-12 teachers across four geographically diverse district campuses. Teacher participants are either former graduates of the DTR teacher residency program or DTR mentor teachers.
“This is an incredible investment in our partnership, but more importantly, it is a direct investment in teachers and students in North Texas,” said Rob DeHaas, DTR’s Co-Founder and CEO. “We know that in order to truly move the needle in urban education we have to ensure that every student has access to a highly effective classroom teacher – this financial commitment by The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is both a testament to the strength of our collaborative partnership with Dallas ISD as well as further proof that Dallas ISD is committed to taking giant leaps towards improving academic outcomes for all students.”
Since 2013, DTR has worked in partnership with Dallas ISD to help recruit, develop, and support both novice and mentor teachers for high-need schools throughout the district. The efforts have helped support the growth and development of over 125 diverse, talented, and effective educators in nearly 20 elementary, middle and high school campuses throughout North Texas.
“We know that well-implemented formative assessment practice can support students and teachers to improve learning outcomes, said Cheryl Niehaus, Program Officer for Data Driven Education for the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. “… Knowing that traditional approaches to professional development too often do not result in sustained changes in classroom practice, this project will allow participants and districts to investigate how might we systematically support teachers to develop into exemplary formative assessment practitioners.”
The grant partners commit to the two-year pilot initiative, part of which includes membership in a professional learning network with other districts. This network aims to identify, scale and share successful approaches to improve formative assessment practice in classrooms.
“As a district, we are committed to working in partnership with Dallas Teacher Residency in an effort to lead educators towards the development of a common definition of formative assessment and towards a collective understanding that, when implemented with fidelity, students are at the center of the learning,” said Arlena Gaynor, Director for Language and Literacy at Dallas ISD and the Dallas ISD Grant Team Lead for the project.
Teacher residencies are a model of teacher preparation based on the medical profession’s approach to preparing doctors—residents spend a full year teaching and learning in classrooms alongside an excellent mentor to become an effective teacher.
In a recent analyses of the impact of residency programs nationally conducted by the National Center for Teacher Residencies, there is strong evidence that teacher residency programs are having an impact on student achievement and teacher retention, improving outcomes for high-need children.
For more information on Dallas Teacher Residency and the teacher residency model, please visit www.dallastr.org.