Grand Rapids Public Schools and Davenport University Announce Strong Results for College of Urban Education Students

Davenport University’s College of Urban Education, in partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS), announced results from the first cohort of GRPS teachers to graduate from Davenport’s Master of Urban Education (MUE) program. Data shows the MUE degree program produced significant increases for the GRPS teachers enrolled as well as the GRPS students in their classrooms. The first cohort of master’s candidates – all GRPS teachers – began the program in May 2015 and completed coursework in December 2016, making them eligible to walk in Davenport’s 2017 Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, April 30.

“We have been excited to partner with Davenport University on this program since the very beginning,” said Teresa Weatherall Neal, Superintendent of GRPS. “Urban school districts present unique challenges that may not be addressed in most education programs, so having this advanced degree program embedded within Innovation Central has been a real difference maker for us.”

Positive trends for each of the MUE Cohort 1 candidates and their GRPS students were identified through:

  • In-class observations of Cohort 1 master’s candidates and their students
  • Conditional Growth Index (CGI) scores of students taught by Cohort 1 based on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP/MWEA) assessment

The CGI data shows that students taught by MUE cohort candidates during the 2015-16 academic year had a greater level of fall-to-spring growth than the students they taught the prior two (pre-MUE program) academic years. The changes in teacher practice resulting from the MUE program are making a positive impact on the students of the cohort candidates.

“A key differentiator with our program is the weekly in-class observations for each candidate,” said Dr. Susan Gunn, Dean for the College of Urban Education. “Recent studies show that including coaching as part of classroom observation process is a very effective method to hone teaching practice. It also helps us to continually measure our progress and make the necessary adjustments to achieve results.”

“The College of Urban Education was created with the goal of changing the way teachers are prepared for service in urban school districts, helping them to achieve better results and reduce high teacher turnover rates,” said Dr. Richard Pappas, President of Davenport University. “That our first cohort consistently demonstrated progress in each area evaluated suggests that we are achieving our goal and that we can continue to expand upon our efforts to make a difference in Michigan’s urban school districts.”

Additional MUE cohorts have already launched, with plans underway to launch a new graduate degree to prepare administrators for leadership roles in urban school districts. Long-term plans also call for the development of bachelor degree program and expansion of the College of Urban Education to other markets served by Davenport University, including Detroit.


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