UPenn Partnership

By: Will Rende

Gilman welcomes many new faculty this year, but in addition to new faces, Gilman will also be debuting a brand new fellowship program that comes as a result of a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate school of education. The Independent Teaching School Residency partners the University of Pennsylvania with 10 independent schools across the East Coast, including Gilman, to train recent college graduates as they begin their careers as educators. Assistant Upper School Headmaster and Site Coordinator for the program Mr. Bartley Griffith said, “The program is designed to make [the fellows] outstanding classroom teachers, self-reflective practitioners, and ultimately leaders of programs and schools down the road in their careers.”

    This year, Gilman’s fellows are Sarah Loyd, who will be teaching world cultures in the Upper School, and Ethan Faust, who will be a member of the Middle School Language Arts Department (see page six for their profiles). Each fellow is also assigned a mentor that is paid and supported by the University of Pennsylvania. “...It becomes a really rich learning experience not just for the fellow but for the mentor as well,” explained Mr. Griffith. Mr. Matthews will be mentoring Ms. Loyd in the Upper School, and Mr. Tully will be mentoring Mr. Faust in the Lower School.

    Initially, Penn’s Graduate School of Education reached out to a number of independent schools about the program, who in turn contacted other schools, such as Gilman, that would be a good fit. Ultimately, Gilman administrators decided that the partnership would greatly benefit both Gilman faculty and students.

     To become a fellow, each applicant must be accepted into the program by both the independent school and the graduate school of education. Each fellow spends two years at the school, and two more fellows join the school community each year.

    The program is an enhancement of fellowship programs of years past at Gilman. Mr. Griffith said, “We’ve always had teaching fellows… but they have not to this point had the levels of support, research, collaboration, and training that this program represents.”

    Gilman’s primary motivation for participating in the program was to “help [the school] to recruit and develop the most promising early career teachers possible,” according to Mr. Griffith. He added, “Gilman is a place that believes that the faculty are the very heart of the student experience. For us, it was an important investment in the quality of teachers that we have at Gilman.”

At the moment, Gilman plans to continue its partnership with UPenn as Mr. Griffith says, “We see it as a long term investment and hope that there will be long term benefit.” Moreover, Gilman desires that the partnership will have a lasting impact on future Gilman faculty: “Hopefully, we’re gonna look back 5 or 10 years from now and we’re gonna have a pretty robust collection of teachers that either went through that program and found it to be really informative and were better classroom teachers and leaders because of it, and I also hope that we’re gonna have a lot of veteran faculty members who are able to grow and learn and better serve all of you boys as a result of our connection with UPenn.”