The Lowell Teacher Academy is a multi-year induction program that is an integral part of the Lowell Public Schools. The Academy’s vision is to provide educators new to the district with a comprehensive program that advances their personal and professional learning, leading to expert practice. The varied aspects of the program are structured to support and challenge new teachers not just to survive but to succeed and thrive in an urban context. The length of participation in the Academy depends on licensure status and teaching experience when hired.
Year One: Teachers participate in a three credit graduate course framed by principles of effective teaching and student learning. School-based mentors* are assigned to teachers who will provide support through one-on-one meetings, classroom visitations, and monthly study groups at each school. As part of the course, the teacher and mentor work together in three Cycles of Collaborative Inquiry that include co-planning lessons, classroom observations with data collection, followed by professional discussions. Teachers are supported and challenged to critically reflect on and inquire into their teaching and their students’ learning while continually examining their beliefs as educators.
Years Two and Three: Teachers have a choice of graduate courses to advance their understanding and teaching of English Language Learners, Cultural Diversity and competency, Special Education, Technology, Literacy, Mathematics, Differentiated Instruction, Backwards Design, Reading Across the Content Areas, Creating a Positive Learning Environment, Contemporary Issues in Curriculum, and Teacher Inquiry. School-based mentors continue to support teachers as they advance their practice in content, pedagogy, and critical inquiry. Teachers also collaboratively work with other teachers, coaches, instructional, and curriculum specialists in their schools to expand and deepen their knowledge-base of teaching and student learning.
Mentor: an experienced teacher in Lowell with professional status. Mentors are assigned to work with teachers in their own schools and are compensated with a stipend. In their first year as a mentor, they participate in a graduate course, Mentoring in a Community of Learners. In ensuing years, they will continue to learn and refine their role in a monthly Mentor Seminar as long as they remain in the position. Mentors are chosen by the school principal and UTL (Teachers' Union) officers.