With school just beginning, parents across the country are particularly attuned to whether their child got into the classroom of the best teacher for the grade level. When there’s a brand new teacher in the classroom, it’s hard to know whether to be excited or not. The two entrepreneurs who co-founded the Urban Teacher Center set out to change that. Jennifer Green and Christina Hall’s vision is that a new teacher will graduate from a preparation program only if she is able to move a student from, say, the 4th grade level to the 5th grade level in one academic year. No other teacher prep program in the country gives that guarantee to the schools that hire its graduates.
I’ve had the great fortune and pleasure of working closely with Jenn and Christina as they’ve built UTC. There’s simply no team better equipped to accomplish their ambitious goal. Jenn brings the lens of a stellar teacher who has also worked with teachers across Baltimore’s schools. Christina brings management and operational leadership skills to the pair. They’ve surrounded themselves with colleagues who are similarly impressive.
What’s obvious in all that they do is their incredible passion for changing the quality of the teachers who earn the privilege of teaching our nation’s young people – especially those who grow up with the odds stacked against them. Jenn and Christina’s relentless drive for results leads to innovative solutions to what seem at first to be insurmountable obstacles. In fact, NewSchools awarded them our first ever “Tenacity and Grit Award” this year.
In classrooms across DC and Baltimore, over 100 teachers who have completed a full-year of apprenticeship training – similar to that of aspiring doctors during their residency – with UTC are greeting excited students on the first day of school. The parents of those students have one less thing to worry about. While there’s no guarantee that their kids will eat the school lunch, their teacher is ready to help them learn.