OII Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and the Teacher Quality program office would like to highlight some of the OII programs that support high-quality teacher preparation and professional development. We also would like to recognize some of the great teachers who are being prepared through our grant programs or are benefiting from professional development opportunities provided through grant funds.


Shining the spotlight on the teachers who benefit from OII’s Teacher Quality grant programs

The Teacher Quality Partnership program provides five years of support to improve the quality of new teachers working in high-need LEAs and high-need schools by creating high-quality model teacher preparation programs to enable teachers to meet the specific learning needs of all students, including those with disabilities, limited English proficiency (LEP), and low literacy levels. Grant funds must be used to strengthen pre-baccalaureate or fifth-year education programs, or to develop one-year teacher residency programs that enable participants to earn master’s degrees and teacher certification, or to do both. Projects also may include leadership components to train superintendents, principals, early childhood education program directors, and other school leaders, as well as an initiative to support development of digital education content.

Edvention Fellowship Program, California State University – Bakersfield (CSUB)
Steven Sampson

“I am a senior math major at CSUB. The Edvention Fellowship Program has given me the opportunity and resources to use new technology in the classroom. I want to be a teacher to inspire students. I believe that advancing technology in the classroom will make it easier for teachers and students to relate to each other. The Edvention Fellowship Program has provided me the opportunity to learn about strategies for teaching English Language Learners and to network with current teachers and administrators.”

Gina Marie Martinez

“I grew up and attended school in a small farming community. I have been so fortunate to have come from a high-need school district and accomplish what I have in my academic and professional careers. Therefore, it is my utmost desire to give back to a high-need high school by sharing with the students my passion for the sciences through the art of teaching. Becoming a prestigious Edvention Fellow has greatly contributed to my professional development. Because my formal training is in the sciences, participating with other Edvention Fellows in career and professional development experiences, training on the incorporation of technology in the classroom, and enrolling in classes for credit in Graduate Level Curriculum, has significantly enhanced my teaching skills.”

Project Co-STARS, California State University – Chico
Haley Flournoy

“I chose to teach because I believe with every fiber of my being that all children can and have the right to learn and to be empowered with the strength of a strong education.”

The Transition to Teaching program supports the recruitment and retention of highly qualified mid-career professionals, including qualified paraprofessionals, and recent college graduates who have not majored in education to teach in high-need schools and districts through the development of new or enhanced alternative routes to certification. The program provides five-year grants to state and local educational agencies, or for-profit organizations, non-profit organizations, or institutions of higher education collaborating with state or local educational agencies. Grantees develop and implement comprehensive approaches to train, place, and support teacher candidates whom they have recruited into their programs.

Education Service Center – Region 19 (ESC), El Paso, Texas
Kenneth Schwartz

“As a new teacher, I began the school year confident about my content knowledge, comfortable with the toolbox that ESC – Region 19 provided me, but completely unsure about how it would all go together when the rubber met the road. Moving out of the business world of adults and into the high school classroom was just a little bit daunting. As I approach the home stretch for this school year, I am thankful that my first group of students have repaid me with cooperation and attention, allowing me to take them places academically that we otherwise would not have been able to go.”

New Visions for Public Schools, CUNY – Hunter College
Jillian Coneys

“In terms of my first year teaching, the New Visions program will benefit me because I now have a significantly larger network of colleagues (from my cohort, New Visions, and my host school) who will all be able to provide needed support and who I know I can count on to be there to share in my triumphs and struggles throughout my career.”

The Teaching American History (TAH) program is designed to raise student achievement by improving teachers’ knowledge and understanding of and appreciation for traditional U.S. history. Grant awards will assist LEAs, in partnership with entities that have content expertise, to develop, document, evaluate, and disseminate innovative and cohesive models of professional development.

Appalachia Corridor Teaching American History Program, Dayton City Schools, Tennessee 
Candice Tilley

“I chose to teach because I think history is interesting and important. I wanted to share my enthusiasm for the story of our past with future generations so that it will not be forgotten. I think having a better appreciation for where we come from helps to inspire patriotism and loyalty and sense of duty to our country. It is this that makes our democracy work. I have been teaching Social Studies/American History for 14 years in Tennessee and I still feel this way. My experience in the Teaching American History Grant – Appalachian Corridor has been very beneficial to my teaching. I have added so much to my professional library that I reference in the classroom often. My research papers have offered wonderful discussion materials for my students each semester.”

Developing Teachers as Historians (DTAH), Madison County Schools, Alabama
Diane Blocker

“The Madison County DTAH program has been transformational for me as an experienced educator. The training and resources that we receive through this grant provide the tools to teach the future citizens of the 21st century. The speakers and historians have informed and expanded my core content knowledge while the pedagogical focus has provided me with fresh, research-based methods that I have used to engage my students in active learning. This grant has been the only professional development that I have had that has focused on my knowledge and skills as a history teacher. I believe that without my involvement in DTAH, I would not have had the type of classroom that enabled me to earn my National Board Certification.”

American Lives: Teaching History Through Biography, Maine District 17
Susan St. Pierre

“The TAH program has not only served as a vehicle by which I have been able to come in contact with other teachers that shared my passion for history, but it has as treated me as a scholar, not as someone who has to be told how to teach but as someone who knows their craft and is valued for that skill. I have returned to the role of historian and expanded my knowledge with a more mature and focused eye, that of the classroom teacher.”