September 7, 2017

Training camp for teachers

Panelists speak during a training session for educators at United Way for Southeastern Michigan College and Career Pathways schools

Call it training camp for teachers.

Educators at 16 United Way partner high schools are refreshed and reinvigorated for the start of the new year. It’s all because of United Way’s College and Career Pathways Summer Institute. From Aug. 21-25, teachers, counselors and principals learned new teaching concepts. They also toured corporations and businesses to find out how they can incorporate skills-based learning into their 2017-18 curriculum.

The institute is part of United Way’s Education work in College and Career Pathways and combines work-based learning experiences with rigorous academics so that students graduate with the skills necessary to succeed in college or a career directly after graduation. As a result, teachers are prepared for success this school year.

Melba Wade, teacher and instructional specialist at Cody Detroit Institute of Technology College Prep High School, said the training seminar provided resources that will help educators make sure their students graduate as successful, well-rounded individuals.

“This has been an excellent tool to help us get ready for the school year,” Melba said. One tool she looks forward to using is a planning tool called curriculum mapping. It determines what skills and knowledge students should know at certain points of the year. With that, she can plan her lessons more effectively.

“If we make this connection with students, it means they’re going to be more engaged in the classroom, which is going to make them better students, which means they’re going to be more successful when they graduate,” she said.

Educators huddle during a training session for teachers at United Way for Southeastern Michigan's College and Career Pathways schools.


Relentless commitment

Teachers need the right tools to succeed, but professional development and continued education are expensive. That’s why partners ConnectEd, Ford Next Generation Learning and NAF joined us to lead this training. Teachers did not have to pay and actually received a stipend to attend. When more teachers have the resources they need to help their students succeed, the entire community benefits.

“They have continued to demonstrate relentless commitment to Detroit children, and we’ve seen it every single day,” said Tammie Jones, Vice President of Education at United Way. “They really demonstrate the awesomeness that there is in Detroit classrooms.”

On tour

Worksite tours gave educators the opportunity to meet industry leaders and learn how different businesses operate across various departments.

Attendees visited one of five sites: Quicken Loans, the Ford Rouge Plant, PwC, Detroit Public Television and the Henry Ford Health System.

Detroit Public Television tour attendees left determined to improve student confidence. During their tour, they learned that many DPTV employees moved up the ladder by taking on projects they weren’t initially qualified to do.

“As a result of throwing up their hands and figuring it out along the way, they were able to grow their career,” Tammie said. “This led to an interesting conversation about the importance of building student confidence so that there is willingness to take on the risk associated with taking on the work you don’t know how to do.”

Attendees spoke with employees from every aspect of the organization. They also received a packet of job descriptions for each employee in each department.

This insight helps educators create more effective work-based learning projects.

“The worksite tours were important in terms of really blowing up perspective around what is needed for kids to be successful in college and career,” Tammie said.

Herman Gray, President and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan, addresses the audience druring a training session for educators at United Way for Southeastern Michigan's College and Career Pathways schools.


Training for the long haul

This work impacts the future of our region.

“Our mission is to partner with educators to help them do their critical jobs,” United Way for Southeastern Michigan President and CEO Herman Gray said. He spoke during the institute’s first day.

“You are determining the future of this city. United Way is here in support of this district. We’ve been here and we will continue to be here.”

Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti also addressed attendees.

“This initiative is directly aligned to rebuilding our school district,” he said. “We have to stop thinking about children as one size fits all. We have to think about different pathways to make kids career ready and college ready.”

United Ways’ support of local educators encouraged Central Academy and High School Principal Abraham Sohn.

“It makes me a lot more optimistic about not just this year, but upcoming years,” he said. “Dr. Gray said he was going to continue to support Detroit Public Schools, and that was gratifying to hear. We’re both in this for the long haul.”