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Development Newsletter – March 2024

March 2024

Alliance Newsletter

Social-Emotional Learning PL for School Partners

This month, City Teaching Alliance is celebrating Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Day by sharing reflections and stories from our own work – made possible by partners like you – to co-create teaching and learning environments that promote whole-child thriving for all students.

Until recently, the major K-12 educational and school transformation initiatives of the last few decades often overlooked many of the socio-emotional factors that are crucial to classroom learning as well as educational, career, and life outcomes – and likewise, the need for culturally responsiverelevant, and affirming SEL reflecting the widely diverse identities and assets of our students. Particularly in the communities we serve, where incoming educators still too often receive little preparation to deliver effective, culturally responsive instruction, it is essential that we equip our teachers and school leaders with the skills and tools to lead the work of social-emotional learning and build nurturing, productive classrooms with a sharp equity lens.

Why Transformative SEL?
Transformative Social-Emotional Learning (T-SEL) represents a relatively new approach to SEL-focused instruction, centered on principles of equity and collaboration. T-SEL “facilitates critical examination of individual and contextual factors that contribute to inequities and collaborative solutions that lead to personal, community, and societal well-being” (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning [CASEL]). The T-SEL competency framework elaborates on the original 5 core SEL competencies identified by CASEL – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making – and reframes them around “rights and responsibilities for creating learning environments that are caring and just” as follows: identity, agency, belonging, collaborative problem-solving, and curiosity.

These T-SEL competencies not only foster important conditions for enhanced academic achievement and positive classroom and school climates, but empower our students with essential skills for active participation, thriving, and change-making in our communities. At the same time, T-SEL also provides today’s educators with meaningful tools and reflection opportunities to lead fulfilling lives and impactful long-term careers in our communities.

“Transformative SEL empowered me to cultivate a strong classroom community by providing tools like fostering belonging and nurturing identity and assertiveness in my students. It deepened my understanding of myself as an individual, enabling me to contribute to a larger collective.” – Devante W., Kindergarten Teacher, Baltimore

“After completing the T-SEL Professional Development, I would describe my understanding of T-SEL as nearly expert! I’ve gained invaluable insights that allow me to connect with students beyond the curriculum and surface-level relationships. I’ve acquired numerous strategies and knowledge that greatly support both my own SEL and that of my students.” – Samantha M., 7th Grade Math Teacher, Baltimore

Following our successful initial pilot activities, we are poised to provide additional interested school partners – both within and beyond our program operating sites – with coaching, workshops, and a train-the-trainer model to equip educators with crucial knowledge and tools for the integration of T-SEL competencies into all learning environments. This is more than just a solution to a timely teacher professional learning need in our sector; it presents a catalytic opportunity for educators and their students to develop in and apply powerful social-emotional competencies toward improved educational, life, and community outcomes. It also represents the combination of rigor, cultural responsiveness, practical approach, and innovation that have made our teacher development pathway so successful since our 2010 launch.

Opportunities to get involved:

  • SEL is a popular topic, but not all approaches are the same. Want to know more about how City Teaching Alliance is fostering nurturing, productive classrooms through intentional integration of T-SEL competencies? Read our program brief here.
  • As we explore the potential to sustain and grow this work in the years ahead, we are actively seeking new professional learning partnerships for spring/summer 2024. Know of a school or district/CMO that would benefit from our T-SEL offerings? Reach out to our team at

  • SEL promotes skills that are vital to thriving and change agency in our communities, workforce, and global economy. These competencies influence educational attainment, employment, and earnings as much as or more than academic achievement as measured by standardized tests.
  • Students who participated in SEL programs saw an 11-percentile-point increase in their overall grades as well as better attendance (Edutopia, 2016).
  • Parents overwhelmingly support SEL in schools. Per one 2022 survey of 1,200 parents by the Committee for Children, more than 80% of parents who identified their children’s schools as already teaching SEL said they were doing the right amount or should be doing more (nearly 30%) – and among parents who did not believe any SEL instruction was happening in their children’s schools or were unsure as to whether it was happening, 86% would strongly or somewhat support adding this component to their child’s educational experience.
  • A report by the AEI/Brookings Working Group in 2012 noted that only 3 states had a fully designed set of SEL standards (including benchmarks for students at every grade level from K-12). Today, 27 states have adopted SEL competencies for all students in Pre-K through 12th grade – i.e., 9X growth in only a decade.
  • There is strong evidence that without reasonable quality of implementation, SEL programs will not improve children’s well-being or academic success. Therefore, one key aspect of SEL is to improve instructional practices through the use of effective ongoing professional development (Greenberg, Learning Policy Institute, 2023).
  • Substantial research further indicates that effective teacher and staff training and administrative support are essential for effective social and emotional learning (SEL) implementation and sustainable system change (Greenberg, Learning Policy Institute, 2023).
  • When a 2022 EdWeek Research Center survey asked teachers, principals, and district leaders about major challenges they face when it comes to implementing SEL, 37% of respondents noted “insufficient professional development” and 34% cited “students’ social-emotional needs being beyond the scope of their ability to handle.”


ICYMI (In Case You Missed It), we celebrated Black History Month by highlighting the far-reaching and enduring impact of Black educators past and present through our storytelling and accolades series, Standing on Legacy, Leading the Future. We are honored to lift up the legacies of those who have come before us, and proud to work shoulder-to-shoulder with changemakers who are reimagining today’s classrooms to benefit all learners.



City Teaching Alliance’s intensive Summer Institute is the first phase of our distinctive multi-year teacher development pathway. Our newest aspiring teachers begin foundational clinical coursework and professional development, receive induction support from our expert faculty and alumni mentors, and build powerful connections with our communities as they become part of the city’s fabric and long-term generational impact, while our rising first-year teachers continue work with our team to plan and prepare for their inaugural weeks leading their own classrooms.


Together, we can build bright futures for thousands of children.

As a responsible business showcasing its corporate citizenship, the benefits to you are:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Public Relations
  • Responsible Business Leadership
  • Targeted Audience Promotion
  • Product Placements
  • Employee Pride & Retention
  • Market Share

We offer a custom recognition package that includes virtual and in-person marketing, employee volunteer opportunities, and community engagement and networking.

No investment has a better ROI than supporting bright futures for the next generation.

To become a sponsoring partner of City Teaching Alliance’s Summer Institute, contact Lyn Rumage at 410-417-9429 or email


The NFL’s Ravens want to know about – and reward – Baltimore-based teachers who give their students their all, day in and day out.

Please take a moment to nominate one of our amazing Charm City educators for the Baltimore Ravens Touchdown for Teachers program, presented by M&T Bank, which recognizes local teachers for outstanding service to their schools and communities.

Three finalists will be selected by a panel of community members, the Ravens, and M&T Bank, and one teacher will receive a $4,000 grant for their school, as well as a school visit by a Ravens player, Poe, and cheerleaders.


The #HalfMyDAF challenge is back and better than ever! Launched by Jennifer & David Risher in 2020, it was conceived as a way to inspire Donor Advised Fund holders to get vitally needed dollars to non-profits like us who transform that support into action.

City Teaching Alliance is immensely grateful to all who have supported us into our second decade of operations, and as we prepare to welcome our 15th cohort of aspiring teachers this summer, we still need the support of both returning and new investors. We know that our nationally recognized teacher pathway works, and we are proud to have impacted the lives of more than 400,000 students through our educators. At the same time, we are humbled by how much more there is to do – and partners like you can help us add commas to the number of teachers in our network and children they nurture.

How you can participate in the #HalfMyDAF challenge:

  • Make a donation and commit to spend down half the money in your DAF.
    • Start by making a grant, make a copy of your grant confirmation, and complete a #HalfMyDAF commitment form and attach the DAF grant confirmation.
    • Submit grants using the form linked above to as many nonprofits as you’d like.
  • You have until the end of day June 28th to submit your DAF grants for matching funds.
    • This year’s matching pool is $1.8M, including $950,000 in the general matching fund for all nonprofits.
    • #HalfMyDAF will award dollar-for-dollar matches up to $5,000.
    • Nonprofits working in education and underserved communities, racial and gender justice, and strengthening democracy have access to an additional $850,000 in matching funds. (Hint: That’s us!)
  • Have questions? Here’s an FAQ.
  • Spread the word. Please let friends, family, and peers know about #HalfMyDAF. The more DAF holders who accept the challenge, the more money is put to work in our communities.
  • Contact us to learn more. We’d be honored to help you achieve your giving goals as one of Guidestar’s platinum-rated nonprofits and a committed and transparent steward of our investments. Email today.


Do you know someone finishing up their bachelor’s degree this spring who has always dreamed of earning a master’s degree in education, but who may be daunted by the idea of taking on more financial or personal commitments so soon in their career?

Do you know someone thinking about a career change? Someone who would love to be a teacher, but wonders if it is possible at their present life stage?

These are the people we stand ready to welcome into our schools to build legacies as beloved educators. Please take a moment right now to forward this newsletter to them and encourage them to investigate the possibilities with City Teaching Alliance! Our next cohort begins in three months. With our vast and constantly growing array of resources and wraparound supports for incoming candidates, it is our vision that every student in the United States is taught by committed, well-prepared, culturally responsive teachers – and our privilege to help make dreams of a career in education come true.

Since our first cohort in 2010, more than 400,000 children have been positively impacted by a City Teaching Alliance educator. Could someone in your network reach hundreds more?

Our Summer Institute begins in a few short months and is the first step to this life-changing journey.

If you, or someone you know, would make a fantastic teacher, visit or APPLY HERE!
Our deadline for this application year is 
April 8th.

We hope you will stay connected with us, our students, our educators, and our schools as we – and our growing network of powerful practitioners – continue to learn, innovate, and co-create the future of teaching and learning in our communities.

We will never share our mailing lists with outside organizations.

Please help us grow our City Teaching Alliance (formerly dba Urban Teachers) family by sharing this newsletter with your friends, business partners, and community thought leaders. City Teaching Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (EIN 27-0989006). To learn more about us, visit our website at or Click Here to donate.

Donations can also be mailed to:
City Teaching Alliance
8 Market Place
Suite 410
Baltimore, MD 21202

Text-to-Give: INSPIRECHILDREN to 44-321

Contact Lyn Rumage at 410-417-9429 or for planned giving, Donor Advised Funds, trusts, or legacy gifts.

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