The Martinez Foundation Programs
We want the impact of the Martinez Fellowship to last beyond our recipients’ graduations – we want it to reverberate for generations of students in Washington state’s public classrooms. We believe in preparing our teachers, and our support programs play a key role in keeping them in public classrooms, longer.
Teachers report that deficits in the following areas cause them to leave the field in their first two years:
- Peer/Cohort support
- Preparation for the “realities” of classroom management
- Material support
- Experience with diverse classrooms
The Martinez Foundation targets the themes of our programs toward expanding our Fellows’ knowledge and addressing their concerns in these key areas. By confronting the realities of the status quo, we prepare our teachers to make long-term positive impacts on student academic achievement. Our Fellows report to us that the following programs have played a key role in keeping them in the field.
The Annual Conference at IslandWood
This keystone weekend provides the opportunity for our Fellows to join together as a community and participate in panels, discussions, and professional development workshops to support them in becoming effective leaders in closing the academic opportunity gap. A more detailed description of this Conference is available upon request.
Full-day seminars focus on teaching in high-needs environments, interviewing and crafting resumes, and building relationships among students’ communities.
Experienced educators partner with Martinez Fellows in the classroom to guide them through the difficult first two years of their teaching careers and ensure their excellence and retention.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2011 alone, The Martinez Foundation increased the population of Latino teachers in Seattle Public Schools by 10%. In addition to providing access to excellent teachers of color, The Martinez Foundation is proud to report 100% within district retention of our 1st-3rd year teachers. Schools in low-income areas experience high teacher turnover and lower student achievement. In Washington State, students of color are disproportionately assigned to underprepared or new teachers. Our state now falls second to last in the nation for representation of the student population in its teaching workforce.
Need: Funding to Maintain Critical Teacher Support Programs
To maintain these retention rates, our teachers need support. At a time when school districts can only provide minimal induction support to new teachers, we work to create programs that will keep these teachers in classrooms longer in our highest need districts. By providing one-on-one mentoring support, as well as an annual conference and full-day seminars focused on teaching to diverse classrooms, The Martinez Foundation can provide the kind of support necessary to keep excellent teachers in classrooms, longer. Currently, 80% of teachers who leave the field do so in their first three years– and teachers of color leave even earlier. Programs that retain teachers of excellence help support our already stressed districts, provide continuity and strength within our schools, and demonstrate to our students that we believe in their right to an excellent education.