Each year, NCTR’s annual Instructional Rounds brings Next Generation Network Partners (Network Partners) together at a Network Partner program site. During Instructional Rounds, Network Partners collaboratively examine a problem of practice (PoP) focused on improvement at multiple levels of a residency. Instructional Rounds participants gather data on the PoP, share evidence, move the host program to its next level of work and reflect on the implications of the experience for their own program contexts. This year’s Instructional Rounds were held in New York City at New Visions-Hunter College – Learning Partners Urban Teacher Residency (LP-UTR) from October 17-19, 2016.

Day One: Monday, October 17th

On Day One, Network Partners from over 20 teacher residencies around the country came together at LP-UTR to examine a PoP focused on strengthening teacher educator effectiveness and teacher preparation partnerships. The PoP examined how LP-UTR host schools’ participation in an innovative inter-school collaboration called “Triads” could strengthen its mentors’ practice as teachers and teacher educators.




Partners dug into the PoP and supporting contextual materials, heard from voices across the LP-UTR partnership, and began data gathering through video observations.

They learned about the LP-UTR partnership from Susan Tynan, Executive Director of the Learning Partners Program at the NYC Department of Education.

Day Two: Tuesday, October 18, 2016

On Day Two, participants visited four LP-UTR host schools across NYC.

academy-of-careers-in-tv-film academy-of-se lmc_logo lyons-comm-school

(Academy for Careers in Television & Film; Academy for Software Engineering, Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, Lyons Community School)

Participants had the opportunity to observe mentors and residents in action and collect data on how the LP-UTR Triad model can be better leveraged to strengthen mentor practice.

Network Partners sat in on a lesson observation debrief between a resident and his mentor teacher…

… and observed residents’ teaching in action.

Shanna Douglas, an LP-UTR mentor teacher at Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, explains why mentorship is so important for novice teachers.


Shanna demonstrated great mentorship-in-action when she debriefed a lesson with one of her LP-UTR resident mentees.


Visitors to the Academy of Careers in Television & Film were so impressed by the beautiful view of sunny NYC from the school’s windows!

After the school visits, Rounds attendees came together to debrief their observations and identify trends, patterns and themes from the data collected during both their school visits and throughout the Instructional Rounds experience. Participants divided into small groups, and shared and sorted their evidence to create affinity maps.


Participants then reconvened as a full group to merge their affinity maps into one large map that set the stage for generating recommendations and next steps.

After a productive day, Rounds participants spent the evening relaxing, mingling and enjoying refreshments at Biblioteca de Tequila.

Day Three: Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The third and final day of Rounds began with participants developing ideas on how to support LP-UTR in addressing their PoP. Participants used a Keep/Start/Modify protocol to generate recommendations and move LP-UTR toward its next level of work with the Triads on mentor practice.

Julie Rottier-Lukens (Denver Teacher Residency), Maxine Alloway (Seattle Teacher Residency) and Mark Neal (Project Inspire) are three of several presenters that shared their small groups’ ideas.

NCTR's Instructional Rounds 2017

Participants also had opportunities to dive deep with their own program team colleagues and consider implications for their own next level of work.

The use of the Triad model is very intriguing and something we would explore implementing in Dallas. Specifically, we currently have three elementary school host sites – it would be interesting to observe the Triad work in action at these sites.” — Rob DeHaas from Dallas Teacher Residency
“We are thinking deeply about how we support our mentors to be more invested, reflective, and proficient in the practice of mentoring.” — Maxine Alloway from Seattle Teacher Residency

And when asked for final reflections Network Partners and attendees said:

The variety and diversity of protocols coupled with the opportunity to do a site visit and debrief were most helpful to develop new ideas and connections.  The visits were very well organized. Kudos on such a well run and meaningful event!” – Sandra Hinderliter, MA Dept of Education

I really enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to learn and network.  I think you are doing really relevant work.” — Stephanie Williams, Memphis Teacher Residency

We greatly appreciate the collaborative and trusting environment that NCTR fosters, especially during Instructional Rounds. The host organization’s problem of practice allows the network to come together as unified problem solvers and critical friends, so that we can continue to support our shared goal of implementing and advocating for effective teacher residencies. We appreciate the profound and direct impact Instructional Rounds has on our programmatic practices. Rounds immediately spark innovative ideas to implement with our Residents, teacher educators, and staff. We look forward to coming back year after year to collaborate with like-minded educators!” — Jessica Hiltabidel and Mara Duquette, Center for Inspired Teaching

Spending nearly three days working with our Network Partners and critical friends – who thoughtfully addressed New Visions-Hunter College-Learning Partners Urban Teacher Residency’s problem of practice – was incredibly energizing! We are grateful to our hosts for their planning and hospitality, and look forward to seeing the progress LP-UTR will make in supporting the Triads as they improve their mentors’ practice as teachers and teacher educators.