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Why U Prep Invests in Targeted Teacher Professional Development

in Blog

Every day, U Prep educators equip their scholars (students) with the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in college and beyond. The demand for college-educated adults in Colorado is fifth highest in the nation with more than 74% of jobs requiring a post-secondary credential. Yet, only 25% of current 9th graders in our state go on to earn a post-secondary degree. At U Prep, we work every day to ensure our scholars are provided with a robust elementary education that will prepare them to obtain a college degree and gain access to our state’s economy. The demands for a well-educated work force couldn’t be clearer, and so we are charged with ensuring all of our children have access to opportunities as a result of their education. In turn, the need for well prepared, effective and committed educators is higher than ever.
At University Prep, we are equally passionate about the growth and development of our teachers as we are about the learning our scholars do each day. Our teachers are loved and deeply supported in their professional development because we know that’s what it takes to achieve true excellence and we are serious about our people becoming exceptional. If our adults are exceptional, it sets the table for our children to have access to all of the opportunities that our families hope and dream of.

Prioritizing Effective Teacher Development

We all know teaching is hard. However, with dedicated, well prepared and supported teachers who have access to standards aligned curricula and significant resources, we can dramatically increase student outcomes. U Prep makes teacher development a priority in our work.  Our teachers consistently name that the intellectual preparation they do alongside of our leaders, coupled with real-time coaching in their classrooms and observation/feedback cycles all combine to dramatically improve their performance. As they share with us, their knowledge of grade level standards, comfort with rigorous content/curriculum and ability to implement high impact instructional practices all increase as a result of our extensive supports.

Investing in our Teachers Leads to Increasing Scholar Outcomes

Scholar success is at the core of teacher professional development.  At U Prep, we serve scholars from kindergarten through fifth grade. To this end we have amassed a team of amazing leaders, compiled resources, and developed relationships with professional development providers across the country to ensure our leadership team has the capacity to support teachers and scholars with their needs across all elementary grades (K-5).  To succeed, scholars need teachers trained in research-based instructional practices, classroom management, and data-informed instruction.

One positive, quantifiable outcome of U Prep’s focus on professional development and teacher effectiveness is evidenced by standardized state testing results.  CMAS growth results in 2018-19 showed that fourth grade scholars enrolled at U Prep-Arapahoe Street were in the 90th percentile in English Language Arts across 100 Denver Public Schools. The growth of fifth grade scholars at U Prep-Steele Street was in the 96th percentile against over 100 Denver Public Schools. These outcomes illustrate how much progress our scholars are making as a direct result of our deep investment in our teaching force. As our children grow and thrive their access to the opportunities we all want for them continue to increase.

Increased Collaboration and Consistency

Professional development is an ongoing cycle of improvement, and is not limited to one teacher, classroom or campus. We focus on fostering a collaborative and consistent learning environment for scholars and adults by providing opportunities for all staff to grown and learn.  At U Prep, we believe that responsibility for student achievement is a shared endeavor.

We are committed to advancing the quality of classroom instruction, increasing student outcomes, and providing targeted professional development for all of our team members.

We are also invested in our teacher as individuals. Each teacher has “a person”, someone they can lean on in times of personal or professional challenges. This could be a conservation in a check in with a coach, time with teammates during grade level team meetings, cross campus interactions, or time together outside of the school building. We believe that a strong connection between adults on a team not only benefits the upholding of a positive adult culture but also fosters a positive place for learning.
If you are interested in joining a team of passionate educators, contact U Prep today!