The Summer Institute for Future Teachers (SIFT), a partnership between CREC, Eastern Connecticut State University, and over 20 school districts throughout Connecticut, has convened summer residential programs at Eastern CSU since 1997. SIFT is open to all of Connecticut’s students who will be juniors and seniors in their high schools during the following academic year.
Illustrative of the diversity of program participants, during July 2010 the 34 future teachers came from 23 public high schools in Ansonia, Bloomfield, Burlington, CREC choice schools, East Hartford, East Haven, Enfield, Guilford, Hartford, Lebanon, Manchester, Mansfield, New Britain, New Haven, South Windsor, Southington, Storrs, Trumbull, Waterford, West Hartford, West Simsbury, Willimantic, Willington, Windsor, and Technical High Schools. Since 1997, the over 600 future teachers who have participated in the program have been from diverse backgrounds – 25% African-American/Black, 4% Asian/Pacific Island, 10% Hispanic, 10% Puerto Rican, 1% Native American, 4% other, 4% unknown, and 44% White/Non-Hispanic. Over 80% of the SIFT alumni have enrolled in post-secondary education, building on the college experiences within the program as a foundation for future academic achievement.
This year, the 20 future teachers are from Bloomingfield, Bulkeley, Metropolitan Learning Center, Middletown High School, New Britain, Newtown, South Windsor, and Willimantic Technical High Schools.
Information sessions about SIFT are featured at the annual Future Teachers Conference (FTC) at Eastern CSU during the 4th week of May each year and at follow-up SIFT activities. The FTC features presentations by future teachers and interactive workshops on community building, story-telling, math magic, and a college fair. Throughout the academic year, future teacher clubs and Young Educators Society mentor teachers join with guidance counselors in recruiting future teachers for the program. Parents are also invited to participate in the Future Teachers Conference and other events throughout the academic year, which have included alumni reunions and information sessions at minority teacher recruitment fairs.
During July 2011, we plan to implement a four-week residential programs at Eastern Connecticut State University for fifty high school rising juniors and seniors who are pursuing teaching as a profession. Participants in the program courses and field experiences will practice skills in creating classrooms that are welcoming for racial, cultural, economic, and linguistic diverse students. Participants will spend mornings serving as teaching assistants in an elementary summer school program and afternoons in workshops on teaching and the education profession. Workshops in computer labs and evening sessions will prepare these future teachers with the academic and professional skills and dispositions needed to succeed in Connecticut’s schools in the 21st century.
Special features being planned for Summer 2011 include practicing skills and knowledge tested on the PRAXIS I exams, creating the future teachers’ first professional electronic portfolios, and developing strategies designed to increase greater awareness of the special needs of all students in diverse classrooms. The future teachers will also participate in a community garden project to study collaborative learning and cultural diversity and in an evening residential program planned to enhance the development of a learning community. The participants will also develop an online network using FaceBook to maintain their learning community into the academic year and as a professional development network for Connecticut’s future teaching corps.
For past SIFT websites, please visit http://ftct.pbworks.com/w/page/4965084/FrontPage .