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Harvard Teacher Fellows Subsumed by New HGSE Master’s Program

Harvard Teacher Fellows is a teacher training program for College students that prepares them to teach in low-income schools.
Harvard Teacher Fellows is a teacher training program for College students that prepares them to teach in low-income schools. By Truong L. Nguyen
By Meera S. Nair, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard Teacher Fellows — a teacher training initiative for students at the College — will no longer accept new cohorts of students as it is rolled into a new degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Harvard Teacher Fellows was created in 2015 to prepare students and recent alumni to teach in under-resourced urban schools. Beginning in 2022, the initiative will be subsumed by the Teaching and Teacher Leadership master’s program at the Graduate School of Education.

While undergraduates are encouraged to apply for the new program, students who do not attend the College will also be able to apply — a change from the previous initiative.

In addition to Harvard Teacher Fellows, the new master’s program will also absorb two other decades-old education programs: the master’s-level Teacher’s Education Program and the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program.

“It makes for a much more cohesive experience across the board, and we're really excited about how this builds off of the strengths of all three programs,” said Noah S. Heller, current director of Harvard Teacher Fellows.

Heller — a faculty member for the new program — said he is working to disseminate information about the transition through established undergraduate communication channels.

“Our recruitment for HTF has pivoted and everyone who we were in communication with, we have tried to be in touch with about the new TTL program,” Heller said.

Allison P. Pao ’21-22, who is currently applying for the new master’s program, said she was surprised that she had not seen more publicity about the transition.

“It's been a little bit frustrating and confusing just because of the lack of information on the [Harvard Teacher Fellows] website and also lack of explanation on the website of how TTL is the same and different to HTF,” Pao said. “As someone who had a thorough understanding of the HTF program, I would have loved to see some more information on the differences and similarities between TTL.”

Meaghan E. Townsend ’21, a current Harvard Teacher Fellow, explained one of the key differences between the two programs is that the new master’s program will offer two separate tracks.

The residency track — modeled off of Harvard Teacher Fellows — will allow fellows to take on teaching responsibilities in classrooms right away, while the internship track will provide “a little bit more runway to get adjusted to what it means to be a teacher,” she said.

While she is “hopeful” about the new master’s program, Townsend said she questions whether all interested students would know to apply.

“My biggest concern is that Harvard students don't know about this program and so won't apply to teach,” she said.

Townsend called the timing of the remodeling of the Harvard Teacher Fellows program “unfortunate” since it coincided with the College’s decision to not offer General Education 1076: “Equity and Excellence in K12 American Schools” — a gateway course to the secondary in Educational Studies — this school year.

“This is the year in which the baton of educational interest has been fumbled,” she said.

College spokesperson Rachael Dane declined to comment on Gen Ed 1076. She said in a previous statement that the course was placed on a two-year rotation due to “budget constraints” necessitated by the pandemic.

HGSE Professor Victor M. Pereira, Jr., who co-chairs the new master’s program, acknowledged the quick turnaround of the application process this year given the transition.

“Time might be tight,” Pereira said. “I would suggest for any folks just reach out to the TTL program, to the assistant director, Andrena Mason, if you're having trouble or need time with application materials.”

—Staff writer Meera S. Nair can be reached at meera.nair@thecrimson.com.

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