Launch of Progressive Education Lab
The Putney School, in collaboration with three other leading progressive schools, has been named one of four recipients of an educational leadership grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation to create a visionary program that aims to change the landscape of how teachers prepare for their profession. The idea for such a program was born at a symposium on progressive education at Putney last summer, where leaders from these four schools brainstormed ways to foster teacher training that was, at its heart, truly progressive.
The $250,000 grant from the foundation, along with matching funds raised, will help Putney and the partnering schools launch the Progressive Education Lab (PEL), a two-year teaching fellowship that places aspiring teachers with students in schools from the get-go and provides a dynamic, experience-based training not typically found at traditional university-based education programs.
Leaders from the four schools—The Cambridge School of Weston; the Calhoun School in New York City; The Unquowa School in Fairfield, Connecticut; and Putney—will begin the planning of the program immediately. PEL is expected to begin accepting applications from candidates who will enter the program in September 2012.
Currently, a majority of traditional teacher training takes place at colleges and universities, away from the classrooms and the environments where teachers would actually teach. Oftentimes, school leaders have found a disconnect between theory and practice. They wanted to find ways for progressive schools to take the lead on teacher education that would not only train new teachers but strengthen teaching at each of their schools.
The Edward E. Ford Foundation aims to improve secondary education as provided by independent schools in the United States. The educational leadership grant is the largest grant that the foundation awards each year to schools that propose a program that’s generative, transformational, replicable, includes partnerships with other schools or organizations, and addresses the question: “What is the public purpose of private education?”