Penn GSE Independent School Teaching Residency program expanding to include four more partner schools

January 18, 2022

The Penn GSE’s Independent School Teaching Residency (ISTR) Master’s program slate of partner schools is expanding, giving early career teachers more options than ever to pursue intensive teaching fellowships.

St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts, Kent School in Kent, Connecticut, John Burroughs School in St. Louis, Missouri, and Marin Academy of San Rafael, California are joining the 17 other day and boarding schools partnering with the ISTR.

“We are very excited to be partnering up with these schools, which have all demonstrated a meaningful interest in innovation,” says ISTR program director Charlotte Jacobs. “They add depth to our program, approach teaching and learning in unique, interesting ways, and contribute to the ongoing conversations we’re having about diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

The selection process is guided by an executive committee composed of individuals from Penn GSE and the existing partner schools.

Now entering its 10th year, the ISTR program — a partnership between Penn GSE and two consortiums of the nation’s leading boarding and day schools — allows for aspiring early career teachers to receive their master’s degree in education while completing a two-year fellowship at a competitive independent school.

“The idea is that our fellows are able to learn and teach in a practice-based model while also learning about the theories around teaching and pedagogy,” says Jacobs. “They’re student teaching at their schools and taking their coursework through Penn.”

The ISTR is an executive format program, meaning its fellows meet for intensive in-person classes four times each year — two at Penn GSE and two at one of the partner schools — with the rest of the curriculum being online.

Jacobs notes one of the key factors behind the ISTR’s success is that the curriculum is co-constructed by Penn GSE and the partner schools. The result is a cohesive program with a defined mission and vision for supporting novice teachers.

In turn, the ISTR has developed a reputation among independent schools as offering a premier education to its accomplished fellows, who then go on to teach in independent schools or find positions in education-adjacent jobs. That combination of talent and instruction has generated considerable interest from schools all over the country.

“We have a teacher program oriented around the exchange of ideas — around a dialogue,” she says. “The fact that there are schools reaching out to us wanting to be a part of this program shows me they’re interested in being a part of those conversations.”

According to Jacobs, the hiring and onboarding processes are currently underway, and St. Mark’s School, Kent School, John Burroughs School, and Marin Academy will be active members of the program when the ISTR’s school year starts in June.