This past fall we administered our semi-annual culture survey and saw growth in responses for ALL questions compared to the same time last year. Our largest growth occurred for the question “I feel connected to the ATC family”, a priority for our team this year as we have structured our PD days around connectedness and worked on creating more-connected coaching cohorts and content groups.
The ATC Teacher Development Team completed the remainder of fall TESS evaluations in January and has now set a direction for PD and coaching this spring--one centered on discussion techniques and formative assessments with an emphasis on teachers' emotional resilience.
A recent survey of students taught by Arkansas Teacher Corps fellows found that students' self-reported class engagement has increased since September 2019, the last time the survey was administered. However, students also indicated a decrease in grit, or the ability to persevere in order to achieve a goal. These results suggest that students may be excited by the return to in-person learning but may struggle to stay on task.
Once a month, our fellows meet with their coach in regional cohorts for small-group professional development workshops focused on teaching skills and emotional resilience. For the 2021-22 school year, these sessions have focused on formative assessment and teacher mindfulness specifically.
On November 6th, we welcomed our fellows to our second All Corps professional development event of the 2021-22 school year. Grounded in our core value of continual learning, the day featured ATC alumni facilitating content-specific sessions and allowed current fellows the opportunity to facilitate skill-based sessions for their peers.
It's been a busy first semester for ATC's newest recruiter, Whitney Carter, as she has hit the road crisscrossing the state to get the word out about Arkansas Teacher Corps! From Jonesboro to Helena to Pine Bluff, hear Whitney's cheerful voice on your favorite radio station encouraging you to apply.
Planning for Summer Institute 2022 is already underway! While we are still working to iron out logistics for the coming summer, we are excited to announce the first round of summer staff hiring. Matt Caston, ATC director of institute, will be hosting an informational session about the summer staff roles on Monday, November 8 at 4:30pm.
Meeting together in-person for the first time since February 2021, the Arkansas Teacher Corps staff met at the beautiful DeGray Lake State Park Resort in Bismarck, AR for a beginning-of-year kickoff retreat. Over the course of two days, the ATC team learned more about each other, normed on expectations for communication and collaboration, and set shared goals for recruiting and retaining even more fellows in the Arkansas Delta.
Planning and executing a virtual summer institute for novice teachers is no easy task. While maintaining some critical elements of years past, Summer Institute 2021 had a more intentional focus on self-care and community building.