CTI National Fellows Head to Yale for Intensive Seminars

By Matt Strohl, CTI Summer Intern

July 3, 2014 — Five Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) Fellows are boarding a plane this Sunday for an annual summer intensive (July 7-18) at Yale University. The Yale National Initiative (YNI) sponsors this event every year and invites teachers from different school districts across the country to deepen their content knowledge and create new curricula.

The YNI was started in 2004 by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute in order to strengthen teaching in public schools. According to the Yale National Initiative website, “The Initiative is a long-term endeavor to establish in most states Teachers Institutes that will provide state and local policy makers effective examples of the innovative Institute approach in their own communities.”

Teachers from all over the country travel to Yale each summer to participate in a summer intensive program that focuses on enhancing their teaching through a focus on content knowledge. These teachers, named National Fellows, participate in seminars throughout the two-week period that they are at Yale. From these seminars, Fellows are required to produce a 15-25 page curriculum unit that will then be published and distributed on the national level.

This year five CTI fellows have the opportunity to participate in the YNI. Teresa Strohl (Visual Art, Barringer Academic Center), Gloria Brinkman (Visual Art, North Mecklenburg High School), Torrieann Dooley (2nd Grade, David Cox Road Elementary School), Phil Carver (Science, James Martin Middle School) and Alexandra Edwards (Social Studies, Bailey Middle School) will be joining CTI Executive Director Scott Gartlan, and two Davidson College faculty and one UNC Charlotte faculty on the trip to Yale University. For some of them, this is their first time participating in the intensive; for others, this is just another notch in their belts.

“We are so proud that these five CMS teachers have been selected as Yale National Fellows,” said CTI Executive Director Scott Gartlan. “These Fellows have earned the opportunity to study alongside Yale University professors, collaborate with teachers from 17 school districts in nine states, and create original curricula for students in their classrooms. Being part of the Yale National Initiative is truly a transformative experience.”

The five Fellows from CTI travelled to Yale in May for an initial meeting. This first trip allowed for the Fellows to meet colleagues and discuss plans for the coming intensive program.

“Yale in May was fantastic! It was wonderful meeting so many intelligent educators and reconnecting with friends and fellows from past years,” said Dooley, a repeat fellow for the YNI. “I also really enjoyed getting to know the team of teachers/fellows from Charlotte. I believe our bond helps strengthen our local CTI community as well.”

Gloria Brinkman, another CTI fellow that is also a returning YNI fellow, also discussed her excitement about the program.

“It felt like a family reunion to be welcomed back by my seminar leader, Joe Roach, the YNI Director James Vivian, and my friends from other teacher institutes around the country who are also returning fellows for the 2014 summer intensive session,” said Brinkman. “Yale is an amazing place and it is wonderful to feel familiar as well as befriended on campus.”