Wheelock TeachBoston was a partnership between Wheelock College, The Aspire Institute and Boston Public Schools (BPS) to support the district's commitment to recruiting an increasingly diverse pool of teachers. Through Wheelock TeachBoston, qualified students could earn a master's degree from Wheelock and an initial teaching license for pre-kindergarten through grade 2 in as few as five semesters. Students received free tuition, a living stipend, and potential placement in a BPS staff teaching position following completion of the program.
ECE Higher Education Access Project
Wheelock College, Urban College, Fisher College, and Pine Manor College, in collaboration with Boston-area early childhood education (ECE) policymakers, providers, and funders launched the Early Childhood Higher Education Access Project. Specifically, Wheelock and partners designed, implemented, and evaluated a pilot program, with the goal of increasing post-secondary degree attainment for early childhood education practitioners (associate degrees and bachelor degrees).
Together for Quality (T4Q)
T4Q was a collaboration among the EEC and three of the state's leading early education and OST organizations: Wheelock College, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley (UWMBMV), and the Community Advocates for Young Learners (CAYL) Institute to help early educators advance on the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).
The Pathways Project
The Pathways Project provided access to higher education to adult English language learners in the field of Early Education and Care. Focused on both early childhood education and contextualized writing and communications courses, the program intended to foster both educators' content knowledge and English language acquisition. Pathways enhanced its curriculum and instructional approach with academic, literacy, and social support services designed with the adult English language learner in mind.
Higher Education STEM Partnership
With funding from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Aspire convened an planning team of Wheelock faculty, local teacher education faculty, and community STEM educators to identify strategies for improving preparation of preschool through sixth grade teachers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. The result of this project was the development of the strategic report: Foundation for the Future: Strengthening STEM Education in the Early Years. Please review the report by clicking here.
Science Learning Teams (SLTs)
Aspire partnered with Haley School, BPS, Irving Middle School and Citizen Schools, BPS, and Kennedy-Longfellow and East End House, Cambridge to enhance science education for students in grades K-8 bringing together Wheelock College science and education faculty, teachers, OST staff and volunteer STEM professionals to develop site-specific plans for improving science teaching and learning, both during and after school. Aspire provided SLTs with a a sub-grant to implement the following:
- Development of aligned science education goals across School and OST programs and related communication structures and shared resources in support of these goals.
- High quality, site-based science professional development for school and OST content experts who can then provide support to colleagues (train-the-trainer model)
- Development of science experiential learning curriculum and/or apprenticeships models with STEM businesses that provide students with exposure to real-world science, beyond school
- Use of technology to enhance science teaching and learning that is accessible to both school-OST programs and useable in subsequent years
- Development of programs with science professionals/organizations including student-scientist mentoring, scientist-staff partnerships, scientists in residence.
Cambridge Middle School Youth Strategic Planning Project
In 2009, with funding from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Aspire developed the strategic plan, Shared Youth, Shared Strategies, for the City of Cambridge, which identifies community-wide strategies for improving the quality of and access to out-of-school-time (OST) programs for middle school youth. Recommended strategies included:
- Community Awareness and Outreach Strategies to improve information about OST programs for youth, families, and schools
- Service Delivery and Coordination Strategies to track enrollment, target services, and improve access across programs, schools and neighborhoods
- Quality Improvement Strategies to support OST programs in offering rich, developmentally appropriate, and challenging learning and social experiences.
Wheelock College Math and Science Education Initiative (MSEI)
MSEI was a program dedicated to improving the math and science literacy of children, their families, their teachers, and their communities.
By building on existing strengths in math and science education at the College, this effort worked to support an approach to early childhood and elementary teacher development that included an emphasis on research based math and science teaching and learning. To this end, the initiative aligned faculty, administrators, and community members in work designed to:
- Build a diverse workforce of elementary and early childhood teachers who are skilled and knowledgeable in the areas of mathematics and science.
- Establish collaborative programs with elementary schools, child care centers, and informal education centers.
- Provide resources, support, and professional development opportunities to pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and community members.
Banner image courtesy of iStock, Chris Schmidt.