Teaching the Urban School Child

Martia Cooper
Principal of Calverton Elementary/Middle School
Baltimore, Maryland

Martia Cooper, Principal of Calverton Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore, oversees a teaching staff of 58 and typically hires two to six new teachers per year. She describes her partnership with Urban Teachers as an “amazing luxury” and currently has 9 Urban Teachers, including two residents and one alumnus. She says:
“It allows me to have a year with teachers in training, in which they learn best practices in behavior management and academics from host teachers who are seasoned in the Calverton way.
When I hire people the traditional way, I do it almost blindly and I just hope for the best. Even with the resume and interview, you don’t really get a sense of the passion the teacher may or may not have, their skill set, their content knowledge, their practice. When I hire with Urban Teachers, I know this person.
I have two residents in my building now, and I can tell you as of the month of October what their strong skill sets are, what their needs are, and that I know they’re going to continue to grow.
I have partnerships with other programs, but by far, Urban Teachers sends more qualified individuals who are able to be resilient in an urban school setting. (Everybody wants to teach the urban school child until it comes time to teach the urban school child.) UT teachers are better prepared…and, I’m noticing, are more apt to take on leadership opportunities. They’re more receptive to feedback. They return.
My dream would be to bring in five residents a year, one for each middle school grade, one for lower elementary, one for upper elementary, so at the end of the year, we can hire from totally experienced staff that we’ve already trained.