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Purpose and Background

ISTART logoBegun in 2008, the I-START program is a collaboration amongst the Internationals Network for Public Schools, Long Island University, the NYC Teaching Fellows, and the New York City Department of Education to prepare highly qualified teachers of English Language Learners (ELL). It is the first urban teacher residency in New York to provide pre- and post-program placement, induction and support activities to new teachers of ELLs.

The Need for Teachers

There is a profound shortage of highly qualified and effective teachers of English Language Learners (ELLs) in New York City:

  1. Only 46.1% of ELLs in NYC graduate in four years
  2. More ELLs graduate after five and six years, but the rates are still very low.
  3. The ELL population is one of the fastest growing K-12 populations in the United States – currently there are 900,000 high school age ELLs
  4. An estimated 360,000 are recently arrived immigrants.

Faced with learning rigorous academic materials in a new language and cultural context, ELLs’ window of opportunity to successfully complete high school is quite narrow.

The Purpose of I-START

I-START is designed to address this need by providing yearlong teaching apprenticeships in several of the highly performing International High Schools throughout New York City while completing a Master’s Degree at Long Island University (LIU). The university courses are designed for residents to place their experience in the International High Schools in the context of current theory, practice, and research.  During the second year of the program, residents are teachers of record either at an International or other public school serving high populations of ELLs, while continuing their LIU coursework and mentorship. After completing a Master’s Degree in TESOL at LIU, and passing mandated certification exams, apprentices qualify for New York State Certification in TESOL grades K through 12. As a member of Urban Teacher Residencies United (UTRU), I-START seeks to inform and improve teacher education models around the country to deepen and advance the integration of theory and practice as well as to positively impact the preparation of teachers of English Language Learners in New York City.

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