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The Lower School Teaching Associate Program

OVERVIEW

The program is designed with a variety of goals in mind:

  • To reduce the student-teacher ratio in Lower School classes, enabling us to implement thematic teaching methods, using flexible groups designed to differentiate instruction 
  • To provide newly graduated educators with additional hands-on classroom experience to fine tune their skills in everything from classroom management to curriculum design and planning, team teaching, and parent communication. Participation in the program not only provides the Associates with expert mentoring from a Lead Teacher, but enables them to learn more about the expectations associated with teaching in an independent school
  • To cultivate our own exceptional teachers for Brentwood’s unique program and to provide well-trained teachers to other independent schools.

The Importance of the Associate Program
The Associate Program is a vital part of our community and participants in the program are seen as valued educators. We could not teach the way we do without our Associates. We strongly believe that by bringing new teachers into our community, we also bring in new ideas and methods which enhance the experience of our students.

History & Rationale
In order to provide true hands-on experience in an independent school environment, Brentwood School has offered a unique Associate Teacher program for the past 22 years. This innovative initiative provides new teachers with limited experience, who show a great deal of promise, the opportunity to work alongside a Lead Teacher for up to three years. The program began in 1998 with just two Associate Teachers working with only the Kindergarten team. Now, the program has expanded to twelve Associates in Grades K-6. Nine Lead Teachers began their Brentwood School careers as Associates.

Structure of the Program
Associates remain in the program for up to three years depending on their goals. Since the program was developed to “grow” great Lead Teachers for independent schools, the role of the Associate is not a lifelong career opportunity. Rather it is a stepping stone to taking the lead in one’s own classroom. With that in mind, we look to provide Associates with a breadth of experience. 

What do we look for in an Associate candidate?
Brentwood School seeks individuals who have a deep passion for teaching and who are eager to garner additional teaching experience before leading a classroom of their own. Associates should possess a strong work ethic, in addition to excellent communication and organizational skills, and should be kind, reliable, flexible, and creative. Ideal candidates should have completed student teaching as part of a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. In some cases, newer teachers with public school experience may participate in the Associate Program in order to better understand the workings of an independent school. 

The following is a typical high-level description of the Associate Teacher program: