The Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) is preparing once again for their annual seminar series beginning in April.

The CTI is a partnership among teachers from Davidson College, UNC Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). In these lecture series, instructors from Davidson College and UNC Charlotte conduct seminars for k-12 teachers from CMS.

Each seminar is lead by a faculty instructor from either UNC Charlotte or Davidson College.

These instructors are content specialists in their own areas, teaching seminars ranging from literary techniques to artificial intelligence.

This year there are four instructors from UNC Charlotte conducting seminars.

The instructors are: Paula Connolly, English department; Heather Perry, history department; Alan Rauch, English department and Amy Ringwood, biology department.

Each seminar is scheduled to meet 12 times between the months of April and November.

The seminar series is designed for CMS teachers who want to gain a more intensive insight for the subject area that they teach.

“The CTI empowers teachers to be creative and innovative instructors,” said Scott Gartlan, CTI executive director.

Teachers from CMS apply to be fellows in the program and attend one of the lecture series. This year there are around 104 teacher fellows attending from CMS.

The 104 fellows are spread equally across all grade levels.

“There are about one-third elementary school teachers, one-third middle school teachers and one-third high school teachers in the program, creating a cross grade level dynamic,” said Gartlan.

The CTI is designed to allow teachers to collaborate with each other, encouraging innovation that they can use in developing their curriculum.

CTI Director Scott Gartland feels teachers have gotten a bad reputation lately.

“There is a problem in North Carolina with the way teachers are viewed,” said Gartlan.

He went on to explain how teachers are deep thinkers, and how they are not respected in this regard.

The CTI hopes to change this view with their model, proving that teachers are innovative and caring educators.

The CTI is modeled after the Yale National Initiative, an organization that focuses upon strengthening public education by sponsoring new teachers’ institutes nationally.

Usually, there are around six teachers per year from the CTI who travel to Yale to attend seminars for the Yale National Initiative.

The CTI says they hope to see teachers’ institutes popping in other places around the country as well. Recently, UNC Asheville and Queens University in South Charlotte have expressed interest in becoming a part of this national initiative.

For more information on the CTI, visit http://charlotteteachers.org/.

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