What is Teaching Excellence?

The Teaching Excellence Program is a teacher preparation and Alternative Certification Program required for first year YES Prep teachers, KIPP Houston teachers, and teachers from our other partnership schools who are interested in certification.

There are currently 22 members of the TE team, with Nella Garcia Urban leading as the Managing Director of Talent Pipeline. 

Nella Garcia Urban, Managing Director of Talent Pipeline   Nella.Garcia@yesprep.org;   713.208.7548 Carlos Villagrana, Director of  Program, Teaching Excellence Carlos.Villagrana@yesprep.org;   713.504.5214
Ashley Harris, Director of Instructional Coaching, Teaching Excellence;      Ashley,Harris@yesprep.org;   713.208.7662   

All TEam members plan and present professional development sessions and facilitate online lesson planning modules throughout the year. Additionally, each of the TE team members works as Instructional Coach with the teachers enrolled in the Teaching Excellence Program. In this role, they conduct observations, provide instructional and management support, teach model lessons, and support lesson planning on a regular basis.

How is an Instructional Coach like/different from the members of my campus administration team?

Instructional Coaches work and communicate regularly with Campus Instructional Support to ensure that new teachers receive relevant and streamlined support.  They observe and engage in coaching conversations at least every 1.5 weeks.  IC’s are supportive and non-evaluative.  They provide professional development sessions for new teachers throughout the year.

What are the Requirements of the Teaching Excellence Program for teachers?

  • Cohort members are required to attend professional development sessions over the course of the summer and academic year.
    • During the summer, TE provides a two week intensive preparation termed, Induction. During Induction, new teachers are introduced to classroom management and instructional planning and delivery strategies as well as system standards and objectives for the various content areas.
    • During the academic year, TE provides PD opportunities 1-2 Saturdays a month from 8:00am-2:00pm and 3-4 online modules a semester. The sessions are a combination of strategy instruction, lesson planning clinic work time, and certification test preparation.

How does the Alternative Certification Program work within Teaching Excellence?

Teaching Excellence has created a professional development schedule that both meets the TEA requirements for certification hours as well as aligns with the development of a beginning teacher.  New teachers will receive specific preparation for both the TExES and PPR exams within their first year of teaching. Additionally, as available, Content Specialists provide content-specific support during these test preparation sessions to ensure that the teachers have both test taking strategy and content preparation. Due to the fact that all of the professional development hours on the calendar are interlinked to certification requirements, it is mandatory that every member of Teaching Excellence complete the hours as outlined for the year. If a teacher fails to complete the required PD hours, s/he will be unable to receive certification during that academic year.


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