200 teachers to receive master’s degree under innovative partnership

News Release

200 teachers to receive master’s degree under innovative partnership
between San Antonio ISD, Relay Graduate School of Education

Program part of effort to boost classroom rigor 

OCT. 11, 2016 − Over the next five years, at least 200 San Antonio ISD teachers will receive master’s degrees through two new innovative teacher development programs, in partnership with the Relay Graduate School of Education.   

SAISD and Relay announced the partnership on Tuesday at Jefferson High School, along with the Texas Education Agency’s Deputy Commissioner of Educator Support Martin Winchester, who oversees the agency’s Educator Leadership & Quality Division.

“The Texas Education Agency applauds the efforts of San Antonio ISD to ensure that every classroom is staffed by an outstanding teacher,” said Martin Winchester, TEA Deputy Commissioner of Educator Support.  “The year-long residency model provided by Relay is an innovative approach to preparing future educators, and will go a long way toward ensuring those teachers are prepared for rigors of classroom instruction and long-term success in the profession.”

Starting in spring of 2017, 75 experienced SAISD middle and high school English language arts, math and science teachers will have the opportunity to earn a Master of Arts degree through Relay, giving them the in-depth subject-matter knowledge needed to teach dual-credit courses at high schools or to introduce a greater level of rigor in middle school courses. Learn more about the Secondary Master’s Program, including the admissions requirements and the process.

Additionally, Ogden Elementary School will become a laboratory school in the 2017-18 school year. Under the two-year Pathway to Teacher program, 25 teacher residents will learn and practice proven techniques, apprentice with a mentor teacher to gain their certification in the first year, and then earn a master’s degree in the second year and set up for long-term careers in schools. Residents for the Ogden school will be recruited by Relay both from within the district and externally, from the surrounding region and across the country.

The Ogden program will accept 25 or more teachers each year for five years, allowing at least 125 educators to earn teacher certification and the advanced degree.

San Antonio area nonprofit, City Education Partners (CEP) is providing grants to SAISD and Relay to support the training of teacher residents and the laboratory school model.

“This partnership with the Relay School of Graduate Education is an example of how we are embracing innovation in our District,” Superintendent Pedro Martinez said. “As SAISD pursues status as a national model urban school district, these and other programs will allow us to build a pipeline of highly skilled and knowledgeable teachers who have a deeper understanding of the subject they are teaching, leading to more rigorous instruction for students.”

The transformational work being done in SAISD has drawn Relay to the San Antonio market, to continue to expand its work to include innovative development strategies for traditional public school districts. Relay, a national, accredited, nonprofit institution of higher education, currently has campuses in nine states, with its first one having launched in New York. The organization is working with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to get approval to operate in San Antonio, starting in March 2017. Relay has worked with over 200 current and aspiring educators in Houston over the last three years.

“Giving students a high-quality education requires one great teacher after another who have the skills and knowledge needed to support their students,” said Relay San Antonio Dean Fellow Julio César Contreras. “This partnership gives us the opportunity to expand Relay’s work in Texas while also providing San Antonio students access to a relay of great educators.”

Relay is tailoring its program to meet the needs of SAISD, making it an attractive option for the District, which has increasingly diverse talent management needs as a result of the transformation efforts.

More about the Secondary Master’s Program

The Master of Arts degree program is a 15-month commitment that will allow experienced SAISD secondary teachers to reach professional mastery in techniques that transform urban classrooms. The 75 teachers will be selected from among English/language arts, math and science educators, with 25 teachers from each subject area. There is an option for renewal for an additional cohort.

The program will enable more high school teachers to teach dual-credit courses; dual-credit instructors are required to hold a master’s degree in the subject they teach. The program also will provide middle school teachers with course work that prepares them to take the state certification exam in their content area.

SAISD’s need for teachers with advanced degrees is increasing as the District seeks to provide high school students with more courses for which they can simultaneously earn both high school and college credit.

The District’s goal is that, by the end of 2019-20 school year, 90 percent of SAISD students will complete an advanced course, whether it’s a dual-credit, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or career and technical education course, to ensure they are better-prepared for college.

Applications for the Secondary Master’s Program will be taken Nov. 1-Dec. 15, with the program to begin in March.

These teachers will continue to work full time throughout the program, which is structured so that 40 percent of their work will be online and 60 percent in person, at the program location.

Instead of paying tuition, teachers will make a commitment to remain in the District for three years after completing the program. Teachers will cover the cost of books and fees.

More about the Ogden laboratory school

Relay also will work with the District to establish a residency program at Ogden Elementary whereby teaching residents will become certified to teach and earn their master’s degree in two years. Residents will earn their certification in the first year of the program, and then will serve as a teacher at a different campus for year two, while they earn their master’s degree.

The five-year program will launch in 2017-18, with 25 residents, and will continue with a new cohort that includes at least 25 residents each school year through 2021-22.

At Ogden, each resident will be placed in a classroom with a mentor teacher and will serve as an apprentice to the teacher for the first year, such as leading small-group instruction in the first year and taking on a greater role as teacher in the second year.

At the Relay location, residents will learn the most reliable techniques and content for their classrooms, and they will apply their lessons during frequent, deliberate opportunities for practice in front of professors and peers. Relay believes that practice is how promising teachers become good and how good teachers become great.

Residents will spend half of their time in general pedagogy classes learning how to develop relationships with students, write lesson plans, manage a classroom and use student data to drive classroom decisions. The other half will be spent in content classes, deepening their knowledge of the content they are teaching.

Residents will be required to remain teaching with the District for three years after they receive their certification. 

About Relay

The Relay Graduate School of Education is a national, accredited, nonprofit institution of higher education whose mission is to teach teachers and school leaders to develop in all students the academic skills and strength of character needed to succeed in college and

life. Now serving more than 2,000 teachers in 12 sites and 400 leaders nationwide, Relay is eager to bring about transformational change in educator preparation. Relay is committed to using practice and feedback to become the place where a new generation of continuously improving, results-focused individuals can fulfill their destiny in the world’s greatest profession. For more information, please visit the Relay website (www.relay.edu) or follow Relay on Twitter (@RelayGSE).