The Growing Influence of Jounce Partners

jouince parntersby Lisa Haver and Lynda Rubin
November 24, 2017

It would be safe to say that no public school teacher in Philadelphia has seen or heard any colleague forcing a student to face the wall and repeat the same phrase 25 or 30 times. Any principal who witnessed such an occurrence would be within his or her rights to formally reprimand that teacher.

Wall Practice:
1. After giving feedback and monitoring to the point of automaticity, have teacher(s) turn toward a wall in the room to practice the skill 10-20 more times (primarily used for multi-teacher PD sessions).
2. Frame as optimal practice because greatest number of reps can be achieved this way.

3. Emphasize the importance of every rep being executed perfectly and with exaggeration of nuances.

Incredibly, that is precisely what teachers in some district schools are being forced to do. It is but one of the tactics developed by Jounce Partners as part of its intensive coaching and professional development plan, already in use at McDaniel Elementary, one of the eleven schools designated last year as “Priority Schools”. The district has approved Jounce as a partner for principal and teacher training in schools that have been included in its “System of Great Schools”.

The district hired Cambridge Education to conduct surveys of the parents, teachers, students and community members at last year’s Priority schools. APPS members heard these stakeholders ask for more staff, return of NTAs and librarians, more counselors, smaller class size, less standardized testing and more after-school activities. We did not hear any member of any the eleven school communities ask for the removal of teachers and principals or more training for teachers. Nevertheless, the SRC approved a resolution to enter into a $70,000 contract with Jounce Partners for “Implementation of High-frequency teacher Coaching for School Transformation” at McDaniel Elementary”. That resolution, one of 142 approved by the SRC at its June 2017 Action Meeting, stated:

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Relay Graduate School of Education: A Policy Brief

Relay GSE

This year the Philadelphia School District used training videos on classroom management from The Relay Graduate School of Education as part of its New Teacher orientation.  The principals of Blaine and Kelley Elementary School (recent turnaround schools) are enrolled in Relay’s principal training program.

Relay Graduate School of Education is a teacher/principal training program based in New York and founded by people who had little experience or training in education.  The school has opened a Philadelphia/Camden branch and has a partnership with Mastery Charter in the Philadelphia region.  Since it appears to be extending its reach inside the Philadelphia School District we felt the need to explore Relay’s history and influence.

Kate Peterson, a graduate student at Arcadia University, has looked into Relay’s founders and programs.  Her findings are posted below.   We want to thank Kate for her thorough research and for allowing us to post it.

Relay Graduate School of Education Policy Brief

by Kate Peterson
January 2, 2016

Relay Graduate School of Education is a stand-alone school based in New York City. It began as Teacher U in 2007, when Dave Levin, co-founder of KIPP Public Charter Schools, and Norman Atkins, co-founder of Uncommon Schools, decided to develop a program that would supply their charter schools and others with high-quality teachers, which they deemed as scarce. They partnered with the founder of Achievement First, Dacia Toll, to create their program. Receiving $10 million from Larry Robbins, founder of the hedge fund Glenview Capital Management and current board member of Relay, and $20 million from the non-profit The Robin Hood Foundation, the three charter school leaders partnered with Hunter College in New York to implement their program (Relay Graduate School of Education, 2015h; Barbic, 2013).

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