Stanford Welcomes SSS Hollyhock Teaching Fellows

The two-year fellowship provides professional development and support to teachers from schools that serve low-income students

By Brooke Donald

An amazing group of 103 teachers from high schools that serve a predominately low-income student population have been named 2016 Stanford Hollyhock Fellows.  Lauren Casteen, Laura Chalfant, Nicki Daniels, Cynthia Hutchings, and Tholeathcus Raiford from Smithfield Selma Senior High School have been chosen as to receive this distinguished honor 2016 Hollyhock Fellows.

(Left to right) Top row: Tholeathcus Raiford and Cynthia Hutchings. Bottom row: Laura Chalfant, Nicki Daniels, and Lauren Casteen. Contributed photo
(Left to right) Top row: Tholeathcus Raiford and Cynthia Hutchings. Bottom row: Laura Chalfant, Nicki Daniels, and Lauren Casteen. Contributed photo

The high school teachers, representing 28 districts/charter networks in 13 states and the District of Columbia, will come to Stanford in July for the beginning of their fellowship program. They will join the 102 fellows from the 2015 class. The inaugural class of 2014 is graduating this spring, but 8 of the Hollyhock 2014 fellows will participate in the summer program as alumni-in-residence.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this third cohort of teachers who are dedicated to teaching underserved populations,” said Janet Carlson, Director of the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching, which runs the program.

Established in 2014, the Stanford Hollyhock Fellowship supports early-career high school teachers for two years with an intensive institute on campus during two consecutive summer sessions and year-round, video-based coaching.

The fellowship, funded through a $4.5 million gift from an anonymous donor, is a competitive program that selects candidates from across the country with two to seven years of high school teaching experience in science, mathematics, history, or English, with a record of exemplary teaching and a commitment to professional growth. The program is free for participants and includes a $2,000 stipend for participation over two school years, all expenses paid for the summer experiences, continuing education credits, and a certificate of teacher leadership for completion of the program. Each fellow applied to the program with colleagues from his or her own school to ensure school support and commitment.

The teachers selected this year come from public and charter schools nationwide. On average, the teachers have 3.7 years of teaching experience and 32% are first-generation college graduates. The schools they teach in are low-resourced, and 80 percent of the students they teach qualify for free or reduced lunch rates.

Research shows that nearly half of all teachers leave the classroom within five years, and in schools that serve low-income students, the turnover rate is even higher. As a result, the least experienced educators are teaching students in the schools with the greatest need. Reducing teacher turnover at schools that serve low-income students is essential to make progress in creating equitable educational opportunities in the U.S.

“The Hollyhock Fellowship Program addresses these complicated educational realities by encouraging early-career high school teachers to persist in the profession and consider staying in schools that serve low-income student populations. Teachers who remain and thrive in the classroom can create maximum learning benefits for all students,” explained Melissa Scheve, Hollyhock Project Director.

During their time on campus in July 2016, the fellows engage in four programmatic strands of professional development:

    • Developing pedagogical expertise in teaching a core content area
    • Examining issues of equity as a teacher leader in the classroom
    • Building community within and across participating schools
    • Interacting with Stanford scholars regarding their research

The four content breakout sessions–English, history, math, and science–focus on expanding the fellows’ content knowledge and pedagogical approach to teaching to benefit the students they teach.

Stanford professors from the GSE and departments university-wide will participate in the program. To learn more about the fellows and their schools, click here.

For more information about the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching and the Hollyhock Fellowship Program, click here.