America's Education News Source

Copyright 2024 The 74 Media, Inc

  • Cyberattack
  • absenteeism
  • Future of High School
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • science of reading

A Decade After It Promised to Reinvent Teacher Prep, Relay Is Producing a Much-Needed, More Diverse Teaching Corps

relay graduate school of education zoominfo

Untangle Your Mind!

Sign up for our free newsletter and start your day with clear-headed reporting on the latest topics in education.

relay graduate school of education zoominfo

74 Million Reasons to Give

Support The 74’s year-end campaign with a tax-exempt donation and invest in our future.

Most Popular

America’s most popular autism therapy may not work — and may seriously harm patients’ mental health, new study: school nurses are untapped resource to combat chronic absenteeism, governors’ 2024 education priorities: early childhood, curriculum, school choice, mental health, failed west virginia microschool fuels state probe — and some soul searching, learning loss win-win: high-impact tutoring in dc boosts attendance, study finds.

A s far as he was concerned, Harrison Gaskins wasn’t a teacher.

It was the 2017-18 school year, and he was a paraprofessional at KIPP Vision Primary, a charter elementary school in Atlanta. He worked one-on-one with a student, and he did it well. Then, during his first year, Gaskins’s colleagues named him Teacher of the Month.

The accolade got Gaskins thinking, and soon his supervisor was encouraging him to get his master’s degree and become a classroom teacher, a possibility that hadn’t crossed his mind back when he was a student.

“I only remember four male teachers and none of them were black, none of them looked like me, so I never even thought, ‘I can do this,’” Gaskins said.

Gaskins enrolled in the Relay Graduate School of Education as part of a low-cost, two-year residency program intended to help people who already work in schools, career changers and recent college graduates become classroom teachers. Since its launch less than a decade ago, Relay has had success rare among graduate schools of education in recruiting teaching candidates of color and male and black male candidates in particular. Nearly 10 percent of Relay’s students are black men, for example, five times the percentage of such teachers nationally.

Gaskins said the program helped him work through feeling “intimidated” and “a little fearful” about attending graduate school.

“The intentionality of explaining how much they invest in you as an individual” made a difference, he said. “I really felt security in the amount of support that I had.”

Since launching nearly a decade ago, Relay has seen its enrollment soar from about 290 to more than 4,000, plus an additional 1,300 school leaders, while expanding from one location to 19 nationwide. All the while, Relay has targeted its recruitment among undergraduate students, race-based student groups and mid-career professionals to ensure some of the most racially diverse groups of faculty and students among graduate schools of education across the country. Forty-five percent of Relay’s faculty identify as non-white, compared with 24 percent at postsecondary institutions nationwide, and 66 percent of its students identify as people of color, compared with 25 percent of students in postsecondary teacher preparation programs nationwide.

The groundwork for Relay was laid in 2007 by founding president Norman Atkins, who also started the Uncommon Schools network of charter schools. The program incubated at Hunter College as Teacher U, and then, in 2011, it became the first stand-alone graduate school of education in New York state to open in more than 80 years. From the beginning, it was poised to offer a radically different graduate school experience for prospective educators. As a New York Times story described at the time, Relay would have “no courses,” “no campus” and “no lectures.”

Relay’s focus was on helping its part-time graduate students — many of whom were full-time classroom teachers through Teach for America and other alternative teacher training programs — support the students in front of them each day. Accordingly, the Relay program emphasized practical, actionable skills to support classroom management and student engagement, not content knowledge or instructional theories, as is more common in traditional teacher preparation programs.

Relay now recruits a wider range of students and, at least according to one measure, provides them with top-notch preparation. The National Council on Teacher Quality, which has been critical of the quality of the vast majority of teacher preparation programs (and received criticism in turn), ranks Relay in the 94th percentile nationwide.

Rob Rickenbrode, who until recently oversaw the organization’s rankings, said Relay has managed to control for quality as it has served more and more graduate students. In 2017-18, nearly 1,000 students earned a certificate or a master’s degree from Relay.

“They’ve been able to keep a very tight hold as they’ve expanded and do a really excellent job in their student-teaching experience,” he said.

Yet Relay’s attempt to rethink the graduate school of education experience has also attracted scorn. More than half of the teacher preparation programs in New York City tried to block Relay from opening back in 2011 , arguing in part that it would increase competition. And Relay’s close ties to charter schools — KIPP and Achievement First were also involved in its founding, and their leaders sit on Relay’s board — have also attracted criticism.

Ken Zeichner, a professor emeritus of education at the University of Washington, has long questioned the quality of graduate schools of education generally and Relay in particular. He’s opposed Relay’s reliance on Teach Like a Champion , the book of teaching techniques authored by Doug Lemov of Uncommon Schools, and what he described as Atkins’s “demonization of university [led] teacher preparation.”

Within the past year, Zeichner said, he met with Mayme Hostetter, who became Relay’s president in 2018, and says he has seen progress, but he remains concerned about the lack of empirical evidence of the program’s effectiveness. The page on Relay’s website dedicated to “Impact,” for instance, cites figures such as the percentage of graduates over the past six years who stay in the classroom as teachers (more than two-thirds) and the nearly 90 percent of alumni who say Relay increased their likelihood of remaining in the classroom.

Zeicher said his criticism also applies to the diverse students whom Relay recruits.

“They need to be able to show, not just that 60 percent of their teachers identify as people of color, but what happens to them,” Zeichner said. “If they can show that they can prepare people of color who can be retained [as classroom teachers], I think that’s a positive thing and we need to learn from that.”

Zeichner’s openness to learn from Relay on this front stems in part from the paucity of racial and gender diversity among candidates in a field where 77 percent of teachers are women and 80 percent are white. Research shows that students are less likely to drop out of school and more likely to aspire to go to college, among other effects, when their teachers look like them. This is especially true for black male students, even if they have just one black male teacher. The issue has attracted attention from 2020 presidential candidates; Sen. Kamala Harris said at the September debate that she would invest $2 billion in teacher prep programs at historically black colleges and universities, if elected.

In an interview, Hostetter, who started as a founding Relay staff member, said having diverse faculty and students was all the institution has ever known, and attributed that to its roots in New York City and its primarily serving urban school districts. Yet there’s more to Relay’s success with diversity. According to data from the U.S. Department of Education , Relay has greater racial and gender diversity than its primary teacher preparation peers in New York City, such as Bank Street College, Fordham University, Teachers College and Hunter College.

Hostetter said Relay has concentrated more in recent years on both faculty and graduate student diversity. Many of the deans at Relay’s campuses in places like Connecticut, Louisiana and Houston are people of color, and Hostetter said having such representation at the staff levels and beyond can produce a virtuous cycle.

“One thing I’m proud of [that] we’ve done at Relay over the last decade, from our inception really, is to show people what great teachers look like, whether that’s in videos or the faculty member in front of their classroom or meeting on their campus,” said Hostetter, who formerly taught at KIPP, among other schools. “We are showing people that great teachers are not just 80 percent white women. I think there’s a huge diversity in the group of people who are excellent teachers in this country. So I think when you show people who great teachers are, what great teachers look like, and then you ask them to join their ranks, you are making a pretty compelling invitation.”

Formally making the invitation to potential recruits are Alia McCants and her eight-person national recruitment team. Most of the team concentrates on particular regions of the country, and they keep an eye on mid-career professionals like Gaskins who are already in education but not leading classrooms (and are more likely to be non-white and bilingual), a strategy known as district in-reach. In addition, two team members focus on historically black colleges and universities like Dillard University and Morehouse College, while one works with Hispanic-serving institutions.

At all colleges, McCants said, the goal is to recruit students before they reach their senior year. Her team is interested in all majors — students studying communications and psychology would “make great teachers,” she said; “they just don’t know it yet” — and partners with specific student groups, like black student unions. They aim to compel the students to go into education and, ideally, attend Relay. McCants said her team is candid with prospective candidates about race and the benefits of attending a program with a diverse student body.

“There’s something about going through the residency [with a group of students who may share parts of your identity],” McCants remembers telling two black men who are teaching this year in New Orleans. “Even if you’ll be the only [black man] in your school, you won’t be the only one in your program, and especially if you’re coming from an HBCU, that’s a very comforting feeling. You’re never alone.”

Such support was reassuring, said Gaskins, the kindergarten teacher. The first topics he and his classmates studied as Relay students were not instructional strategies but sensitive subjects like race and socioeconomic status. He said students gathered in groups based on similar race and gender to discuss their motivations for teaching. Once the different groups shared their takeaways with one another, Gaskins said, they realized how much they had in common.

These types of experiences helped Gaskins believe he chose the right program, one that will help prepare him to make teaching his career. His path to the classroom was not linear — he previously worked as a behavior specialist at a program for at-risk youth, which he described as “dark” — but as he looks back, Gaskins thinks his past helped pave the way to his future.

“It kind of reminds me of Lion King ,” Gaskins said, invoking his favorite movie. “Simba, he had all the potential to be king, but he had to go off and live with Timon and Pumbaa for a little while before he came back. So that’s what I feel like, maybe I had to go out and do some other things before I could really take care of Pride Rock.”

Disclosure: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation provide financial support to Relay Graduate of Education and The 74 .

Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for The 74 Newsletter

Articles by Brendan Lowe

We want our stories to be shared as widely as possible — for free.

Please view The 74's republishing terms.

By Brendan Lowe

relay graduate school of education zoominfo

This story first appeared at The 74 , a nonprofit news site covering education. Sign up for free newsletters from The 74 to get more like this in your inbox.

On The 74 Today

TEACH.org Logo

Relay Graduate School of Education

At Relay, we are on a mission to provide all PK-12 students with high-quality education and choice-filled lives. To achieve this mission, we focus on preparing and supporting outstanding teachers and school leaders. Our programs emphasize the specific teaching and instructional leadership skills that have the greatest impact on student learning and development.

Relay is an accredited national nonprofit institution of higher education serving 2,000 teachers and 400 school leaders across the U.S. We offer degree programs, professional development and unique learning experiences for teachers, principals, college students and members of the public.

Relay is proud to collaborate with many outstanding peer institutions of higher education, educational nonprofits, public school districts and public charter networks across the United States. Our partners set a high bar for excellence and inform our approach to developing teachers and school leaders.  

Institution Links

  • Financial Aid Office
  • Online Application

Quote Bubble Icon

Relay is a hands-on program that aligns perfectly to teaching. I love attending Relay classes because I feel that they help me improve the way I teach, and my students benefit from it as a result.

Relay GSE logo

Gradual Transition into Teaching

The Relay Teaching Residency provides you with a carefully structured, gradual transition into teaching as your skills and effectiveness increase during your first year as a teacher-in-residence. As the school year progresses, you will teach more often and take on more responsibilities in the classroom. By late spring, you should be ready to teach at least one period a day and demonstrate overall readiness for lead teaching the following year. If you show early promise, your partner school may accelerate the transition to lead teaching during the first year.

Support from Resident Advisors

The Resident Advisor is an experienced teacher at your campus who mentors and supports you during the first year of the program. The Resident Advisor is meant to provide a window into teaching, and into the curriculum and culture of your partner school. In this role, the Resident Advisor fulfills several responsibilities to assist your development, including modeling and co-teaching, curriculum and lesson-planning, and communication with Relay.

Year 2: Culturally Responsive Teaching, Advanced Skills, Master’s Defense

When you are employed as a fully-licensed lead teacher, you’ll broaden your knowledge by focusing on unit planning and incorporating literacy across content areas. You will learn specific techniques to build rigorous and joyful classrooms — including principles for culturally responsive teaching that will enable you to create an inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds.  Additionally, you will prepare for the Master's Defense, a capstone project in which you will analyze student performance and character growth and reflect on your own development as a teacher.

Educating All Students: Accommodations for diverse learners

Over the course of the two-year program, you will learn how to understand and intentionally respond to differences among the learners in your classroom. You will also develop skills to identify and implement accommodations that align with individual students’ needs. In particular, you will learn how to use Universal Design for Learning to accommodate learner variability during whole-group instruction.

Relay offers a Special Education Certification program for teachers who would like to further build their skills to support students with exceptional needs after completing the M.A.T. program. Learn more about Special Education Certification.

Applicant Info

Relay seeks Residents who exemplify their core values: working with urgency to serve students, understanding that this work requires grit, taking personal responsibility for their students’ success, doing this work with respect, showing a genuine curiosity to learn others’ perspectives, and knowing that without teamwork, we'll never succeed. Relay is committed to ensuring that programs are affordable for teachers, especially those teaching in high-needs public schools. The cost to residents for the two-year master’s degree and certification Relay Teaching Residency program (after AmeriCorps Segal awards and Relay institutional aid) is $6,500. Payment plans are available for all students, and Relay also offers federal student loans. Relay is particularly interested in applicants who graduated from schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and who want to teach at their alma mater or at other local schools. Applicants for Relay Teaching Residency must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education
  • Have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Able to successfully pass a background check
  • Be a United States citizen or have authorization to work in the United States
  • Will need to be able to pass appropriate state tests (e.g. TexEs, Praxis).

Program Hallmarks

Hands-on experience.

Relay believes practice is the most promising pathway to excellent teaching. Practice with a focus on the concrete and specific teaching skills that maximize impact in the classroom is a cornerstone of the Residency experience. Residents participate in weekly practice sessions to develop and refine their teaching skills. The Relay Teaching Residency also provides residents with a carefully structured, gradual on-ramp to teaching as their skills and effectiveness increase during the first year. As they develop their skills and the school year progresses, Residents teach more often and take on more responsibilities in the classroom. By late spring of their first year in the program, Residents should be ready to teach at least one period a day and demonstrate overall readiness for full-time teaching the following year.

Preparation for Diverse Populations

Relay has a commitment to diversity and prepares teachers to teach students of all identities and backgrounds in order to push toward a time when this country no longer faces stark educational inequities. Given that Relay GSE’s ultimate constituency are underserved public school students, Relay places a critical emphasis on building an institution that is representative of these students both in terms of race and class. Relay recruits, develops, supports and retains a diverse staff, faculty and graduate student body.

Mentoring & Coaching

In their first year, teaching residents immerse themselves in their schools, working directly with students under the close supervision of a mentor teacher, called a Resident Advisor. Relay has each partner school provide each Resident with a Resident Advisor on campus. The Resident Advisor is an experienced teacher at the Resident’s campus who mentors and supports the Resident during the first year of the program. The Resident Advisor is meant to provide a window into teaching, and into the curriculum and culture of the partner school. In this role, the Resident Advisor fulfills several responsibilities to assist Residents’ development, including modeling and co-teaching, curriculum and lesson-planning and communication with Relay.

Commitment to Improvement

Relay’s program model emphasizes frequent practice, coupled with feedback from peers and professors. All applicants must demonstrate a willingness to learn, strong receptivity to feedback, and a commitment to continual improvement. Relay is committed to using real-time experiences, practice and feedback to become the place where a new generation of continuously improving, results-focused individuals can fulfill their destiny in the world’s greatest profession.

American Indian or Alaskan Native

Hispanic/Latino

Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander

Two or more races

Get Started

Own the application process. Start a checklist to put yourself on track to becoming the best teacher you can be.

Relay Locations

Relay has locations in cities across the country and offers convenient online programs in multiple states.

Relay pens.

Connecticut

relay graduate school of education zoominfo

Pennsylvania

relay graduate school of education zoominfo

IMAGES

  1. Relay Graduate School of Education Partnership Info

    relay graduate school of education zoominfo

  2. Relay Graduate School of Education Headquarters DBI Projects

    relay graduate school of education zoominfo

  3. Relay Graduate School of Education: Read reviews and ask questions

    relay graduate school of education zoominfo

  4. PPT

    relay graduate school of education zoominfo

  5. Relay Graduate School of Education

    relay graduate school of education zoominfo

  6. Relay Graduate School of Education Ranking & Overview 2024

    relay graduate school of education zoominfo

VIDEO

  1. zoom in 📸✌️

COMMENTS

  1. Relay Graduate School of Education

    Who is Relay Graduate School of Education. The Relay Graduate School of Education is a national, accredited, nonprofit institution of higher education whose mission is to teach teachers and school leaders to develop in all students the academic skills and strength of character needed to succeed in college and life. Now serving over 3,500 teachers in 18 cities and more than 1,200 leaders ...

  2. Relay Graduate School of Education: Employee Directory

    The Relay Graduate School of Education is a national, accredited, nonprofit institution of higher education whose mission is to teach teachers and school leaders to develop in all students the academic skills and strength of character needed to succeed in college and life. ... Search ZoomInfo's database of 106M+ companies and 140M ...

  3. Daniel Stuckey Email & Phone Number

    As Relay's Vice President, Data and Research, Dr. Daniel Stuckey leads efforts to facilitate program improvements through rigorous research and dat a-driven decision-making. ‍ Before joining Relay in 2017, Dr. Stuckey was a teacher and school administrator in NYC and DC. Dr. Stuckey holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of ...

  4. Vice President of Student Affairs and Services at Relay Graduate School

    Dr. Nichelle Bowes is the Vice Provost of Student Affairs and Services at Relay Graduate School of Education where she leads the institution's effo rts to ensure an equitable, inclusive, and academically fulfilling experience for all students. Dr. ... Search ZoomInfo's database of 106M+ companies and 140M+ professionals to find your next lead ...

  5. Shannon Chambers

    Shannon Chambers is an Instructional Designer at Relay Graduate School of Education based in New York City, New York. Previously, Shannon was an A cademic Technologist at Pace University and also held positions at New York Institute of Technology, Mercy Creek.

  6. Roshawnda James

    Roshawnda James is a Manager, Talent Acquisition at Relay Graduate School of Education based in New York City, New York. ... Search ZoomInfo's database of 106M+ companies and 140M+ professionals to find your next lead. Grow Your Business Reveal both personal and business contact details, including emails and phone numbers, and close your most ...

  7. Rebecca Good

    Rebecca Good Current Workplace. Relay Graduate School of Education. 2015-present (9 years) Explore additional business information. Discover more about Relay Graduate School of Education.

  8. A Decade After It Promised to Reinvent Teacher Prep, Relay Is ...

    Gaskins enrolled in the Relay Graduate School of Education as part of a low-cost, two-year residency program intended to help people who already work in schools, career changers and recent college graduates become classroom teachers. Since its launch less than a decade ago, Relay has had success rare among graduate schools of education in ...

  9. Zaymira Gaspard

    Zaymira Gaspard is a Coordinator of Student Support, Registrar at Relay Graduate School of Education based in New York, New York. Previously, Zaym ira was a Case Planner at Forestdale and also held positions at Ascend, Children's Aid College Prep Charter School, Vanguard. Read More

  10. Relay Graduate School of Education

    About us. Relay Graduate School of Education (Relay) is a national, accredited, nonprofit institution of higher education whose mission is to teach teachers and school leaders to develop in all ...

  11. Relay Graduate School of Education

    Relay Graduate School of Education. Relay Graduate School of Education is a private graduate school for teachers in New York City [3] and other locations in the United States including Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Chicago, Connecticut, Delaware, Denver, Houston, Indiana, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Newark, Philadelphia, Camden, and San Antonio. [4]

  12. Pennsylvania

    Relay also offers a 2-year hybrid and online Master of Arts in Teaching program with the option to pursue Pennsylvania teacher certification. Pennsylvania educators pursuing their masters enroll through our Relay Camden location. Join our diverse community of practitioners focused on achievement, equity, and well-being of students and teachers.

  13. Careers

    At Relay, we seek team members who are passionate about improving education for all children. Opportunities Whether your goal is to teach teachers or school leaders, create practice-based, equity-centered learning experiences, or build strong financial systems, you'll find that the work at Relay is full of new and challenging problems to solve.

  14. Relay Graduate School of Education

    Relay currently serves over 4,000 teachers and school leaders across 19 campuses. Relay is eager to bring about transformational change in educator preparation. Relay Graduate School of Education ...

  15. Graduate Certification Programs

    Relay Graduate School of Education's graduate and certification programs are designed to teach knowledge, skills, and mindsets, build educators' sense of self efficacy and belonging, and ensure participants feel prepared to stay in teaching for the long term. With options for aspiring and current teachers, largely online programming, and a ...

  16. Relay

    A diverse community of educators — Relay serves educators at every point in their careers and is committed to recruiting and retaining educators of color to meet the tremendous need across this country. Equity-focused, relevant and responsive — We treat equity, inclusivity, and cultural responsiveness not as a separate unit, but as a ...

  17. Relay Graduate School of Education

    The Relay Teacher Pathways program, an initiative of Relay Graduate School of Education, is a teacher development center that offers unique teaching programs for undergraduate and graduate students to explore the teaching profession and develop as a new generation of transforming teachers. Relay Graduate School of Education is a national, accredited, nonprofit institution of higher education ...

  18. Relay Graduate School of Education Student Handbook AY2023-24

    Relay Graduate School of Education 25 Broadway, 3rd Floor New York City, NY 10004 Phone: (212) 228-1888 Email: ...

  19. Program Overview

    Relay Graduate School of Education offers a variety of programs for aspiring and in-service teachers designed to prepare and support educators for a career in the classroom. ... Relay may not be able to provide assistance to a student regarding the interpretation or understanding of a state's licensure requirements for states in which Relay ...

  20. Contact Us

    Relay Graduate School of Education 25 Broadway, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10004. General Inquiries. If you'd like to get in touch or request further information, we would love to hear from you. Complete the form below to quickly contact a Relay department. First name * Last name * Email * Location *

  21. Relay Locations

    Relay has locations in cities across the country and offers convenient online programs in multiple states.

  22. How do I request a transcript?

    580. To request an official or unofficial transcript, please complete the request form, which can be found directly at the following link . Please note at this time, Relay does not send official transcripts electronically. Official transcripts can only be sent via mail and unofficial transcripts are sent electronically.

  23. Information Regarding the Relay Graduate School of Education Academic

    Changes may come in the form of government statutes, rules, and policies adopted by the Board of Trustees of Relay Graduate School of Education, or by the President or designee. More current or complete information may be obtained from the appropriate department, school, or administrative office.