Belk Foundation Awards Fifth Grant to CTI

The Belk Foundation recently awarded Charlotte Teachers (CTI) Institute a grant for the fifth consecutive year, this time for $25,000 to support seminars serving over 100 teachers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). CTI is an innovative, educational partnership among UNC Charlotte, Davidson College and CMS designed to strengthen teaching and learning in CMS by cultivating content knowledge, creativity, leadership skills and collaboration among teachers.

“Retaining excellent educators in North Carolina is a top priority for The Belk Foundation. We hear from teachers that being a part of a supportive professional community keeps them energized and moving forward. We’re fortunate to have Charlotte Teachers Institute fostering that kind of engagement for our teachers,” said Katie B. Morris, board chair of The Belk Foundation.

“If we want every child to have the education she deserves, we must provide all students with high quality teachers. Charlotte Teachers Institute treats teachers like the professionals they are, encouraging them to grow and improve their craft, all for the goal of student learning,” said Johanna Anderson, executive director of The Belk Foundation.

CTI Director Scott Gartlan noted research indicates the single most important school-based factor in student performance is teacher quality. He said CTI strengthens teaching and learning in CMS public schools by improving teachers’ engagement and effectiveness in the classroom and by helping the district retain high quality teachers. CTI offers eight long-term, interdisciplinary seminars on a variety of academic topics, led by faculty from Davidson College and UNC Charlotte. This year, four seminars groups meet regularly at Discovery Place, one at the Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, and the others at Davidson College and UNC Charlotte.

Gartlan stated research studies concur that high quality professional development programs feature seven dimensions: a focus on content and pedagogy linked to content; active teacher learning with feedback on teaching strategies and practices; teacher leadership; extended duration; collective participation by teachers from the same school, grade, or subject; alignment with state and local standards; and ongoing evaluation. “CTI fosters all seven of these dimensions, and, with the support of The Belk Foundation, CTI will continue to excel by retaining high quality teachers in CMS,” Gartlan said.