Expanding the Circle
Level 4: Beginning Teacher Cohort – Our Support
“Expanding the Circle” support option for 1st and 2nd year teachers prepared by CfUT.
“We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.” –Sonia Johnson
Is there a small group of determined people that can change the course of history in Milwaukee? The task of changing history seems overwhelming, but a group of teachers is working towards this goal. This cluster of teachers is known as Expanding the Circle because they are increasing their circle of influence by focusing on what they can do to change the mistakes of the past.
The first logical question that arises is: Who are the teachers that are working to make these changes and close the achievement gap? The dedicated and passionate teachers are first and second year teachers who teach in the central city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The teachers, who teach at various grade levels, work at choice and charter schools located throughout the city.
Now that it has been established who the devoted people are that are closing the achievement gap, the next question that surfaces is: What is Expanding the Circle? Expanding the Circle is mentoring, classes, and networking for teachers who want to improve their craft of teaching. In essence, they want to move from being a good teacher to being a great teacher.
Teachers are very busy with grading papers, creating dynamic lesson, collaborating with others, attending meetings, and developing relationships with students and parents. Why would a person want to participate in Expanding the Circle? Teachers join Expanding the Circle because they believe that they can make a difference in the lives of the children in the inner city of Milwaukee. They realize that the achievement gap is a very relevant problem and that by closing it the children of Milwaukee will have a brighter future.
Expanding the Circle is an outstanding program that is working to provide high quality education to all students in Milwaukee, so when and where does it meet? The group is divided into two groups, Expanding the Circle One and Expanding the Circle Two. A person that was involved in the program last year and attended most of the classes would be in the Expanding the Circle Two group. All of the other teachers are in Expanding the Circle One because of the necessity to have foundational information. The classes occur one Saturday a month at a high performing school in Milwaukee, St. Marcus Lutheran School.
Expanding the Circle is an excellent program because it provides necessary support to first and second year teachers in the inner-city. It is the hope of the Center for Urban Teaching that Expanding the Circle will accelerate the pace that teachers move from good to great and retain quality teachers in the urban setting. This small group of twenty-five people can really change the way that things were done before, and with the change will come huge improvements of the children’s learning, which will impact the school and character of the inner city.