Pre-Service Training is one of the most exciting—and challenging—elements of the DC Teaching Fellows experience. Candidates accepted into the program begin their commitment by completing training pre-requisites via online modules before the summer begins. During the summer, Fellows participate in intensive, six-week Pre-Service Training to master the skills necessary to improve outcomes in schools where students lag several grade-levels behind. Fellows learn the Fast Start skills through a combination of field teaching experience, coaching, and skill-building so they can hit the ground running from their first day in the classroom. Our Fast Start skills, which Fellows must master during Pre-Service Training before becoming teachers in DCPS are:
- Clearly communicating a lesson objective and academic content;
- Ensuring that every moment of class time is used well;
- Ensuring full and purposeful student engagement at all times during a lesson; and
- Ensuring that student behavior is positive, respectful, and productive.
The Fast Start skills are only part of the complete set of skills and strategies that effective teachers deploy in their classrooms every day, and Fellow development will not stop with the Fast Start skills. As teachers in the fall, Fellows will build mastery in other, more advanced skills through TNTP Academy and other development activities. By mastering the Fast Start skills in Pre-Service Training, Fellows will be ready to make a strong start in the classroom and quickly progress to instructional excellence.
Pre-Service Training consolidates a large amount of teacher preparation into 6 short weeks, making the program extremely demanding. Fellows must attend training sessions five days a week from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily. Fellows spend their morning completing their field experience with a Cooperating Teacher in a high-need DCPS classroom, where they are observed by Teacher Development Coaches and given immediate feedback on their proficiency in the Fast Start skills. Fellows spend their afternoon/evening getting additional practice and feedback in the Fast Start skills through coaching sessions with Teacher Development Coaches; skill-building sessions with Launch Skill Instructors focused on the subject areas that Fellows teach; and analyzing skill demonstrations with their peers. Throughout these activities, Fellows will receive extensive, ongoing feedback on their practice and apply this feedback to rapidly improve their practice.
Due to the critical role that Pre-Service Training plays in the success of DC Teaching Fellows, participants cannot miss any portion. Attendance is mandatory every day. Once you begin training, you should anticipate remaining in D.C. and being actively engaged in program preparation through the first day of school, as participants will need to secure teaching positions and prepare for classes during the interval between the conclusion of training and the start of the academic year.
Fellows are formally evaluated during our Pre-Service Training on their proficiency in the Fast Start skills, based on observations of their field experience with summer school students; demonstrated professionalism; and fulfillment of program expectations. Every activity during Pre-Service Training will be geared toward developing Fellow proficiency in the Fast Start skills, but we anticipate that that not all Fellows will successfully complete training, as we will ensure that only those who have mastered the Fast Start skills will begin teaching in the fall. Fellows who demonstrate mastery of the Fast Start skills and successfully complete training are eligible to be hired by D.C. Public Schools and must enroll in TNTP Academy, the exclusive licensure program of the DC Teaching Fellows.
Upon successful completion of Pre-Service Training, Fellows will enter the classroom as regular full-time DCPS teachers. The expectations of Fellows are the same as any other first-year teacher. Fellows are subject to principal evaluations and other levels of assessment that are identified by the District’s Teaching and Learning Framework, as well as observations from members of the DCTF staff. Fellows are required to demonstrate effective teaching through improved student outcomes.