Excellence in Teaching
Research shows having a great teacher three years in a row can significantly narrow the achievement gap. Stanford’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET), launched in 2008, is at the forefront of a national movement to scale up quality teaching. The center investigates institutional practices with proven impact and spreads them through innovative programs. One example is CSET’s relationship with Balboa High School in the San Francisco Unified School District. Teachers and leaders there joined 265 others from seven states for the 2011 Stanford Summer Teaching Institute—the third year they’ve participated.
Making Teaching Affordable
Even as a Stanford freshman, Efundunke Hughes, ’05, MA ’06, wanted to be a teacher. But like other aspiring educators, the prospect of repaying student loans on a teacher’s salary was discouraging. The new Avery Loan Forgiveness Program at Stanford’s School of Education eases that burden for graduates of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP)—one of the most respected teacher training programs in the country—who go on to teach in a public school or a private school in an underserved community.
In many parts of the world, social and cultural barriers prevent HIV/AIDS education from reaching those who need it most. As a Stanford graduate student, Piya Sorcar, MA ’06, PhD ’09, consulted the university’s medical and education experts to create culturally sensitive materials. The result: interactive software that is carefully tailored to each of the 70 countries in which it is now used—including regions where other HIV-related materials had been forbidden. Piya founded the nonprofit TeachAIDS to deliver these lifesaving materials for free to educators, governments, and NGOs.
Blending Business and Education
“I came to Stanford because I wanted to be a leader in public education,” says Rich Davies, MBA/MA ’11, who enrolled in a joint degree program at the School of Education and Graduate School of Business. A trip to India gave him a firsthand look at health care in poor communities, an experience he says provided “profound learnings I know I will be able to apply in my career as an education leader.” The number of joint degrees offered by Stanford’s seven schools grew dramatically during The Stanford Challenge.
Schooling Principals to Lead
K–12 reform needs bold leaders. In 2008, Stanford launched the yearlong Principal Fellows Program to help early-career principals gain the skill and vision to manage change, create cultures of high performance, and build schools where all children can thrive. “I know I will look back on the program as a turning point in my growth as a principal and school leader,” says Amy Furtado of the San Leandro Unified School District. The program draws on the resources of the Graduate School of Business (for management and leadership) and the d.school (for innovation and design).
- Excellence in TeachingCSET is at the forefront of a national movement to scale up quality teaching.
- Evidence for EducationCEPA provides empirical evidence for what works, what doesn’t, and why.
- Making Teaching AffordableA loan forgiveness program eases the burden for some graduate students.
- HIV/AIDS EducationA graduate student develops lifesaving education materials for those who need them most.
- Blending Business and EducationThe number of students pursuing joint degrees has grown dramatically.
- Schooling Principals to LeadA yearlong program helps early-career principals build schools where all children can thrive.
MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN
When The Stanford Challenge began five years ago, the leaders of the Initiative on Improving K–12 Education launched an ambitious plan to help solve the nation’s most urgent problems facing education. Their goals: to develop new knowledge of effective educational policies and practices and to prepare leaders who will transform the way we teach and run our public schools.
Thanks to you, our alumni and friends, we have made extraordinary progress in achieving this mission.
Meaningful reform of our K–12 education system matters more than ever. Despite years of reform efforts, high school dropout rates are high, we lag behind much of the world in math and science achievement, and our schools, once a source of national pride, are failing underserved children who most need them.
To strategically address these challenges, we formed two multidisciplinary centers that are playing crucial roles in sustaining effective change: the Center for Education Policy Analysis and the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching. Both are applying rigorous research to the problems facing K–12 education, and both are putting innovative, pragmatic solutions into the hands of educators and decision makers on local, state, and national levels.
At a time when policy decisions that directly affect our nation’s schoolchildren are often based on nothing more than fads or “gut checks,” the Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA) is providing empirical evidence of what works, what doesn’t, and why. The center is shifting the tide by providing expert analysis to state and federal policy makers and several large urban school districts to help improve student outcomes. And CEPA’s impact is growing. We know, for example, in many districts, the children who most need strong teachers are the least likely to get them. This knowledge came from CEPA’s research and now policies are being shifted to correct the problem.
Classrooms are also thriving from our efforts to improve teaching quality. The Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET) has become a national leader in researching and developing professional development strategies that are making a real difference in student learning. More than 1,200 teachers and leaders—representing districts, charter school management organizations, and schools across the country, from California to Texas to New Jersey—have worked with CSET in the areas of math, science, and English/Language Arts. To scale its work around the core practices for excellent teaching, the center is building interactive, on-line resources that will soon become available for teachers and leaders nationwide.
None of these transformative initiatives would have been possible without investing in our extraordinary faculty and students. With your support, we have substantially strengthened our graduate student aid and bolstered the number of endowed faculty positions. The Dorothy Durfee Avery Loan Forgiveness Program, for example, has made teacher education in the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) a viable choice for many excellent students from disadvantaged communities. So many of our recent graduates—now teaching and leading in our most high-need schools—say they could not have considered STEP without this critical assistance.
Your generous support has made these achievements possible. The stories that follow touch on some of the ways the Stanford University School of Education is playing a lead role among education schools in transforming the landscape of public education.
Although The Stanford Challenge has concluded, our quest to make lasting change in public education certainly has not. Meaningful and sustainable change is urgently needed to ensure that every child in the United States has a high-quality K–12 education. We hope you will join us in building on these profound accomplishments and our rich scholarship.
I. James Quillen Endowed Dean
Stanford University School of Education
Professor of Education