Brizard Meets with AUSL Principals & Teachers to Discuss Teaching Practices 

Unique Teacher Training Strategy Boosts Student Achievement at Turnaround Schools


July 8, 2011


CHICAGO - CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard met today with Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) principals and teachers to discuss AUSL’s approach to transforming chronically underperforming schools in high poverty communities through a unique and rigorous teacher training, mentoring and development program.  [To view photos of the event, please follow this link]


AUSL utilizes an innovative Urban Teacher Residency (UTR) Program which combines one year of hands-on classroom residency with a mentor teacher within one of seven elementary and high school teacher Training Academies, all of which are AUSL CPS managed schools. The UTR program is a pipeline of teacher talent for AUSL turnaround schools.


“AUSL’s model is already making swift impacts on Chicago’s most challenged and underperforming schools,” said Jean Claude Brizard. “Their intensive teacher training and mentoring approach is proving to be a formula that can help turn around schools many may have thought did not stand a chance of succeeding.”


Today’s discussion took place at Johnson Elementary School, 1420 S. Albany, which has shown 18.3 percentage point gains in meeting or exceeding state standards on the composite ISAT score since becoming an AUSL turnaround school in 2009.

Principals and teachers from AUSL turnaround schools today shared both their stories and experiences in using various tools and frameworks, including the AUSL teacher residency program, that positively impact student achievement. Principals who participated in today’s session included Alice Henry from James Johnson Elementary School, Angel Turner from Morton School of Excellence, Pamela Creed from Dulles School of Excellence and Keisha Robinson from Howe School of Excellence.


The AUSL residency program pairs each resident teacher with a mentor teacher to help develop teaching skills through individualized coaching and support which includes real-time observations and extensive feedback. The teacher training also includes:


  • Practical experience four days a week for an entire school year within a CPS classroom with a mentor teacher.
  • Dedicated after-school time for discussing performance with a mentor and joint planning to ensure that new teachers are learning proven teaching strategies.
  • Access to video technology to help teachers fine-tune their teaching practices.


Residencies are available for all elementary (K-8) grade levels as well as secondary English, History, Math, Science and Spanish teachers. Art, Music and Physical Education residencies are also available.


Recently, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the number of teacher Training Academies will double from seven to fourteen in the next two years, allowing 200 additional teaching residents to train and teach in AUSL Teaching Academy schools. There are 40 percent more UTR teachers enrolled in the National Louis University program for 2012 than in last year’s class.


AUSL continues teacher development after the residents have completed the one-year program and begin teaching in AUSL turnaround schools. Full-time teaching coaches and real-time feedback on student performance data help teachers accelerate student gains and make immediate adjustments to teaching approaches.


In addition, the AUSL program significantly improves retention rates of highly qualified teachers. Since 2003, AUSL has graduated 368 students, with 96% employed as teachers after graduation.  Seventy-eight percent (78%) of the graduates were still employed within CPS or CPS charter schools in the 2010-2011 school year.


Recently released preliminary 2011 ISAT data demonstrates that the AUSL turnaround approach has significantly boosted student performance.  AUSL turnaround schools showed 8 percentage point gains in the number of students meeting or exceeding state standards compared to the CPS average of 3.8 percentage points.


The conversation today continues Brizard’s citywide listening tour aimed at engaging teachers, parents, principals, students, community leaders, the faith community and other stakeholders in a conversation about issues facing CPS.


About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 409,279 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


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