We’re thrilled to launch our brand new Impact Teacher Certification Initiative; an exciting opportunity for Impact educators to complete a certification program with financial support. The initiative launch stems from our rooted belief in ongoing professional development, coaching, and support for all staff, in particular Teaching Fellows, many of whom are hired straight from the communities Impact serves. We recently spoke with Director of HR, Deandre Williams, about the initiative and his hopes for the program.
Impact: Hey Dre! So how long have you been with Impact?
Deandre Williams: Two years this October! I’ve been in the education sector for 9 years.
Impact: Tell us about the initiative!
DW: The Teacher Certification initiative offers financial support to any teacher completing a preparation program and earning a full certification, or a residency certification. Teaching Fellows currently enrolled in a certification program will be eligible for their first payment of $3,500 this June, 2021. Teachers who remain with with Impact Public Schools through 2023 and 2024, qualified to receive two additional payments of $3,500 for a total of $10,500 over three years.
Impact: What prompted the idea to launch this initiative?
DW: We have a robust Teaching Fellow program and in speaking with the teachers and looking at the data, we recognized that there’s interest and need for residency certifications. One of our core values is “intention” and we wanted to be intentional in how we support our teachers. This initiative is something we feel is not only very mission-aligned, but also empowering for our educators. We want to equip them with the necessary tools to become Lead Teachers, and this program also helps support them in potentially obtaining further higher education.
Impact: What do you hope are the best possible outcomes for Impact teachers and scholars with this initiative?
DW: We hope that our Teaching Fellows feel valued and supported in their career trajectory. Many of our Teaching Fellows come from the communities we serve and the hope is that they stay on and move into a Lead Teacher role. Impact serves a very diverse population of scholars and we want to support all educators from all backgrounds with the resources they need to become Lead Teachers. It’s vital for scholars to see people who look like them in a Lead Teaching role, who are from the community, and who understand them. We also would like to become a pipeline for Teaching Fellows to become Lead Teachers not only at Impact, but at other schools as well that share the same values and mission as we do.
Impact: What are the traits you look for in hiring educators?
DW: For Teaching Fellows, we look for people who are passionate about education and have clear goals about what it is they want to do for scholars and their educational goals. We want to support them in that mission. For Lead Teachers, we look for people who are passionate, data-driven, family and scholar-oriented, and open to feedback and coaching. All Impact staff are valued for who they are and their goals and passions.
Impact: What do you most admire about educators today?
DW: I really admire their dedication and their resilience and most of all, that they’re not letting the pandemic deter them from their purpose.