Teaching Fellows Program
The Kansas City, Kansas Teaching Fellows program began in 2000 as a partnership between Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools; Pittsburgh State University, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The program was developed and facilitated in coordination with The New Teacher Project of New York to address the need for teachers in high-needs schools. The Kansas State Department of Education approved the alternative licensure program.
Between 2000 and 2010, the Kansas City Kansas Teaching Fellows program recruiting high-performing individuals from non-education related professions to teach in our KCK classrooms. We prepared and hired more than 200 teachers for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools' elementary and secondary classrooms. With Fellows, the district was able to staff vacancies that had been filled by long-term substitutes for many years.
Previously, nearly every high school math and science department consisted almost entirely of Fellows and achievement rates rose tremendously. While the initial need was for the math and science teachers, over time, we also accepted Fellows for elementary positions and for all content areas, including English, Social Studies, Spanish, Business, Fine Arts, and Family and Consumer Sciences.
Participants selected for the Fellows program completed a six-week summer institute "boot camp" experience that included teaching district summer school classes to KCK students in the morning and taking graduate-level classes in the afternoon or evening. The summer boot camp was taught by district personnel who prepared these teacher candidates for teaching in a high-needs school and meeting the needs of our students.
After an absence in the Fellows program from 2010-2015, KCKPS Administration team determined that school districts are beginning to feel the pressure of another teacher shortage, not only in KCK but across the state of Kansas and throughout our nation. KCKPS, with our Pittsburg State University partner, has re-ignited our successful KCK Teaching Fellows program for the 2016-2017 school year.
The vision of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools is to be one of the Top 10 School Districts in the Nation. Our goal is that "Each student will exit high school prepared for college and careers in a global society, and at every level, performance is on-track and on-time for success." By re-igniting the KCK Teaching Fellows program we will be able to ensure that our students have an additional source of highly qualified teachers, in order to reach their goals and for the KCKPS to continue the journey to becoming a Top 10 School District. Exciting partnerships with other colleges and universities, teaching organizations, business representatives and community agencies will enhance our ability to support Diploma+ program initiatives that will spread throughout our school district over the next few years.
Would I be a good candidate for the Fellows program?
We accept candidates from many different backgrounds with many different prior experiences. Strong candidates have several qualities in common:
- Excellence in their previous schooling and/or career experience.
- Commitment to having a positive effect on student achievement.
- Dedication to influencing students who most need effective teachers.
What are the minimum requirements for the program?
Applicants must have:
- Applicants must complete the online application, which includes a statement of purpose/cover letter, a resume, three letters of recommendation, transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
- An undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75. If you have a GPA between 2.5 - 2.74, we will review your application holistically. If you are interested in the Masters in Teaching program through Pittsburg State University, or other accredited universities, it will be necessary to meet their requirements.
Applicants CANNOT have:
- Ever been certified to teach (in any state).
- Completed a teacher preparation program, including any bachelor's degree or master's degree program that provides a pathway to teacher certification.
- Once an applicant is admitted to the program, official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended must be sent to KCKPS.
Are there other requirements for each pathway?
Candidates must pass the Praxis practice test for middle-level content to be accepted into either program.
For the Master's program, candidates must also apply to Pittsburg State University's Graduate School and pass all required tests. This will include; but may not be limited to, Praxis, etc.
I have a bachelor's degree from a non-U.S. university. Can I still apply?
Yes, you are welcome to apply. If you are invited to participate in an interview, you will need to have your transcripts evaluated by naces.org, a foreign education translation service. Before you can participate in an interview, you will need to submit a NACES evaluation to KCKPS.
What is the selection process like?
Candidates are invited to Selection Day based on the acceptability of their application.
Candidates should be prepared to spend an entire day in a KCK school for the duration of the Selection process.
The selection process includes four parts: 1.) a sample lesson taught to actual KCK middle school or high school students; 2.) the professional discussion of an educational article with your fellow-applicants; 3.) a writing sample performed on-site; and 4.) an individual interview.
Invited applicants will receive a packet of information that will guide your preparation for Selection Day.
What teachers are needed?
Currently, we need middle and high school teachers in Business, Science, Math, Engineering, Technology and/or Information Systems, English and Spanish. However, we will consider other content areas on a limited basis upon further evaluation by the school district.
How will I learn how to teach?
Candidates participate in an intensive summer boot camp experience called Summer Institute. Summer Institute hours are all day, Monday through Friday, for six weeks. The Institute includes supervised interaction with students in morning summer school sessions, followed each day by afternoon classes. The classes provide an initiation to the district; prepare candidates to be culturally responsive educators, plan and deliver instruction as well as manage and lead their classrooms, beginning in the Fall. All teachers in the district participate in weekly professional learning sessions throughout the school year. Teaching Fellows also take courses in the evening during their first two years on the job. KCK schools are staffed with teacher leaders who support the instructional staff, and every school has a mentoring program for new teachers. In most schools, teachers of common content areas work in Professional Learning Communities that allows new teachers to have access to the expertise of their teaching peers.
Will Fellows receive a cost-of-living stipend during Summer Institute and then a teacher's Contract?
During the Summer Institute, Fellows who are selected for this year's cohort will receive a stipend of $2,000 to help offset cost-of-living expenses during the six-week period. If you are successful in completing the Summer Institute program and evaluations, then you will be awarded a teaching contract that will become effective August and end June of the following year.
What is the length of a workday, or an example of a routine day?
High School teachers' work day is from approximately 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Middle School teachers' work day is from approximately 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Teachers are typically involved in after-school activities such as tutoring, clubs, athletics, and meetings.
What if I have no experience teaching?
The KCK Teaching Fellows program is designed for individuals without an education background. It is a highly selective program that is looking for accomplished individuals with content expertise who can demonstrate leadership and achievement in KCKPS classrooms.
Will I be the only Fellow at my school?
We try to place at least two Fellows in the same school. Specific placement occurs after the Summer Institute and is based on the current vacancies in our middle schools and high schools. With over 150 Teaching Fellows already teaching in the district, you will find Teaching Fellows in every school.
What kind of benefits will I receive as a teacher in the Kansas City, Kansas School District?
Teaching Fellows receive the same benefits as all other teachers. All full time teachers receive single medical insurance coverage paid by the district.?? All teachers including Teaching Fellows will become a part of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS). In addition, Teaching Fellows may purchase group dental and vision plans though payroll deduction. Health benefits are not covered during Summer Institute. All benefits begin at the start of the contract year.
What is the difference in course work between the two pathways?
There is essentially no difference in the course work for a KCK Certification and a Master's of Arts in Teaching. New teachers need all of the training required by the Master's Program to become an effective teacher in their classroom. We also want to be sure that candidates in the KCK Certification classes can transition to the Master's Program if they choose to do so. Transitions for KCK Certification to the Master's Program must be made by October 1st. The Master's Program from Pittsburg State University enables the teacher to complete a master's degree, achieve placement at the Master's level on the teacher salary schedule, and ensures a Kansas teaching license through the Kansas State Department of Education.The KCK Teacher Certification is available, and allows a teacher to teach only in the Kansas City Kansas School District and is renewable each year. Because all Teaching Fellows will take the same course work, Pittsburg State University will accept the course work taken during the Teaching Fellows Program. If a Teaching Fellow chooses to transition into the Master's Program, he/she must do so within the first year of the program, be accepted into the Pittsburg State Graduate Program, and pay for all course work taken during the first year and in all other required courses to complete the Master's program.
Who is financially responsible for the cost of the university course work?
Teaching Fellows are responsible for the cost of the university tuition, instructional materials and fees. Teaching Fellows do not have to pay for books. The Master's program through Pittsburg State University requires the completion of 36 credit hours. Tuition and fees are set forth by Pittsburg State University. For those on a KCK Certificate, there is no costs associated with tuition, books and instructional materials and fees.
How long is my commitment to teach in Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools?
The KCK Certificate is renewable each year if the teacher continues to be in good standing as a teacher in the KCK school district. Both the Master's program and the KCK Certificate program requires a two-year commitment to complete the course work. This commitment includes a regular teaching salary as well as intensive and on-going support.
I have additional questions about the program. Who do I contact?
- Chalita Middleton
HR Director of Secondary Education
Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools USD 500
- Lindsey Cegelis
- Cynthia Fulks, M.A.
Director of Recruitment
Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools USD 500