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All Eyes on the Teacher

While education-reform organizations typically occupy themselves with high-level policy and research issues, one group in Washington is gaining notice by working directly with the people who actually run the classrooms. The Center for Inspired Teaching, which opened in 1995 as teacher-training service, has recently begun working in partnership with individual schools in the Washington area to help teachers hone their practice.

“The most important thing that happens in a school is the quality of instruction,” says founder Aleta Margolis. “If you want to influence that, who do you work with? Of course you work with teachers.” That philosophy is showing some signs of success. Three years ago, CIT was hired to work with teachers at Tyler Elementary School in Southeast Washington, at the time one of the lowest-performing schools in the city. The group’s trainers helped Tyler’s staff develop a collaborative culture, design more effective lessons, and bring renewed enthusiasm to their work. Last year, Tyler was one of a small number of schools in Washington to make adequate year progress two years in a row. Other schools have started calling …

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