Wheelock College Commencement 2018!

Commencement was Friday, May 18! See taped versions of the full Undergraduate and Graduate ceremonies and more at wheelock.edu/commencement.

Aspire Teacher Support Program


Effective Teacher Professional Development

By Linda Darling-Hammond, Maria E. Hyler, Madelyn Gardner

Well-designed and implemented professional development is an essential component of a comprehensive system of teaching and learning that supports students to develop the knowledge, skills, and competencies they need to thrive in the 21st century. This report details key components of effective professional development and offers rich descriptions of model programs to inform education leaders and policymakers seeking to leverage professional development to improve student learning.

Why It Matters

The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) (2011) reports "over a third of the nation's new teachers leave the profession within five years. In urban school districts, one in five new teachers leave the classroom after just one year, and nearly half leave within five years." The NCTAF (2011) "urges the development and adoption of a new approach to teacher deployment that mobilizes learning teams comprising new teachers, teacher mentors, and teacher retirees..."

The goal of the Aspire Teacher Support Program (TSP) is to support, prepare, inspire, and retain the next generation of effective transformative educators.

TSP works with teachers to increase their efficacy and retention through professional development and mentoring.

Professional Development and Training

Option 1:

Designed for PreK-2nd grade teachers the following professional development is offered for participants to gain further content knowledge, enhance instructional skills, and deepen classroom practice in three specific content areas:

  • Teaching Each Learner
  • Supporting Early Literacy Through Guided Reading and Centers
  • Integrating the Standards for Mathematical Practice

Each area is composed of 8 sessions.  Schools and districts may choose to offer each area, in sequence, throughout the school year or one area during an 8 week span. These content areas have been chosen with the Massachusetts teacher evaluation rubric and new teacher feedback in mind.

5oaks Educator Mentor program

Option 2:

Designed for teachers of all grades, specialists, and administrators the Culture, Self, & Teaching professional development is offered for participants to explore culture and race in a responsive and reflective setting.

Techer support mentoring

Option 3:

Designed for school systems that wish to develop in-district expertise around culture, race, and responsive teaching this professional development training is offered to teacher leaders and administrators who wish to extend their understanding through deeper reflection and active discussions.

Option benefits:

  • Opportunity to continue developing content knowledge and instructional skills;
  • Membership in a supportive community of peers training together on the same content;
  • Access to learning resources to enhance pedagogy.

This program is designed for teachers who are seeking an experienced educator to create a personalized mentoring plan with them. Teachers in this program are assigned a mentor who is a retired educator and who has been identified as a strong educator. Mentors conduct classroom observations, model lessons, and support classroom teachers through throughout the school year. The mentor-teacher relationship is non-evaluative and personalized to the classroom teacher's needs and goals.

Program Benefits:

  • Opportunity to fulfill Department of Elementary and Secondary Education required mentoring hours
  • Personalized mentoring
  • Access to additional resources provided by the Wheelock College Aspire Institute to support the mentoring partnerships (when applicable and available)

*NOTE: Admission for participants who do not meet these qualifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Amy McClennen, Program Manager, at amcclennen@wheelock.edu to discuss admission if this applies to you.

Photo of teacher and young students courtesy of Brande Jackson via Flickr and used under Creative Commons License.
Photo of teacher and one student courtesy of Jaimie Duplass's Fotolia portfolio and used under a Royalty Free license.

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