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​Dr. Brian M. McCadden, dean of the School of
Professional Studies

PC Introduces R.I.’s First Master’s Program in Urban Teaching

With a focus on tackling the achievement gap in urban schools, Providence College has unveiled a master’s degree program in urban teaching for early-career teachers.

Administered through PC’s School of Professional Studies, with Teach For America as an initial partner, the master’s program is the first in Rhode Island to focus solely on urban teaching. Through Teach for America, more than 10,000 people make two-year commitments to teach in 46 urban and rural schools across the country each year.

The program helps certified teachers with some experience in urban schools to develop the skills needed for long-term success in the classroom. Professionals who enroll must have completed at least one year of full-time teaching in a high-need urban school prior to beginning the program.

Designed to be completed in one academic year and two summers, the program follows a cohort model in which the PC students start and finish together. Focus areas include education administration, middle-level education, special education, literacy, and counseling.

Currently, the program’s first students are beginning the 10-course, 30-credit sequence by taking a course that focuses on understanding the sociocultural contexts of urban teaching with the goal of developing strategies for motivating students toward high achievement.

Future courses will be centered on advanced teaching strategies for differentiating instruction, current issues in urban education, individualized action research, and a capstone that focuses on successful urban education.

“We are thrilled to support Providence College in their efforts to provide a high-quality program for urban leaders,” said Heather Tow-Yick, executive director of Teach For America in Rhode Island. “One hallmark aspect of this master’s degree program is that it is highly differentiated to the teachers’ needs based on the unique opportunities that present themselves in our urban schools.”

Faculty from PC’s undergraduate and graduate schools, as well as professionals from local urban school departments and the Rhode Island Department of Education, will teach in the program.

“An emphasis in education right now is to focus on helping urban students do well, and we want to be a part of that,” said ​Dr. Brian M. McCadden, dean of the School of Professional Studies. “We’re trying to help new teachers in urban schools develop a better understanding of who their students are, what challenges they face in and out of school, what their challenges are, and how we can support them.”

McCadden added, “The students in this program have been through their teaching induction, and now they know what their weaknesses are. We can help them hone their skills as urban teachers. The hope is for these eager and passionate people to stay in their careers as teachers for many years.”


— Chris Machado

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