Student Teacher Pipeline to the Future

Long before the advent of No Child Left Behind, the School District of Philadelphia recognized that recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers was an important priority.

The Student Teacher Pipeline to the Future was a collaborative venture between the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Education Fund designed to address the issue of recruitment. The primary goal of the Pipeline, which was active from summer 2004 through spring 2009, was to bring highly qualified teachers into the School District of Philadelphia — particularly into schools and subject areas that traditionally have been hard to staff. Under the Pipeline umbrella, several initiatives were developed to support the goal of bringing the best teachers to the students in Philadelphia.

These initiatives focused on:

  • Supporting student teachers primarily by providing professional development institutes
  • Enhancing the skills of cooperating teachers
  • Facilitating and providing support for the Co-Teaching opportunity
  • Developing and providing support for Professional Development School (PDS) partnerships
  • Collaborating with colleges and universities that place student teachers in the District
  • Creating and providing resources on the specifics of application and hiring in the District

Pipeline Highlights

Professional development was a major component of the Pipeline initiative. The Pipeline provided pre-service and ongoing professional development to support and enhance the professional growth of student teachers during the summer as well as during the school year. Professional Development (PD) Institutes were offered and open to all student teachers. Those placed in a school in the District received a small stipend for each session they attended.

The Co-Teaching Program was a significant complementary initiative to the professional development opportunities being offered to student teachers. Each spring, those whose student teaching took place in District schools were offered an opportunity to extend their stay in their schools until the end of the school year. The cohort of student teachers was selected on a first-come, first-served basis to extend their stay and become co-teachers. Preference was given to student teachers in hard-to-staff schools. Each co-teacher received a small stipend at the end of his/her eight-week placement.

The District's Professional Development Schools (PDS) were formal relationships between institutions of higher education and Philadelphia public schools. PDS partnerships were formed and sustained in order to enhance the performance of K–12 students, pre-service teachers, and the professional staffs of both partners through shared expertise and resources, collaborative projects, and ongoing inquiry, reflection, and dialogue. In summer 2006, nine Philadelphia public schools entered into formal partnerships with institutions of higher education and began the process of developing Professional Development School partnerships.