The Partners in Progress: Peer Intervention Program (PIP) has successfully helped thousands of teachers in schools throughout New York City. Why not you? It is a proactive step toward professional growth! Here are some common questions and their answers.
What is PIP?
PIP is a multi-service program for tenured teachers who are struggling and who voluntarily apply for assistance. The participants commit to working individually with a peer partner for a period of up to one year. Assistance is given on a confidential basis and is tailored to the person’s strengths and weaknesses in their professional capacity. The goal is to help participants become more effective or to counsel them to leave and pursue other options.
PIP was established by Article 21.G in the 1987 collective-bargaining agreement between the DOE and the UFT. The DOE and the union then chose the nine-member Peer Intervention Panel to work out the details of the program and select staff; it continues to oversee program policy and direction. In line with the contract, the UFT chose six members of the panel and the DOE chose three members. The program began operations in the fall of 1988.
What is a peer partner?
A peer partner is an experienced classroom teacher with demonstrated instructional, interpersonal and peer assistance skills. He or she possesses a wide range of knowledge with respect to curriculum content, implementation of standards, classroom materials, educational methodology and the change process. Peer partners are skilled in creating a supportive, collegial climate for professional development.
Who should apply?
Tenured teachers who are seeking to take charge of their professional craft with the intensive assistance of an experienced colleague. Others know they are having trouble because of supervisors’ evaluations, formal warnings, or Ineffective/U ratings. In any case, the program is voluntary and the ultimate decision to apply is a personal one. The only requirements are that the educator is teaching in a fulltime program with regular continuous classes and is committed to pursuing a high level of professional growth.
What can I expect to gain from working with my peer partner?
Participants gain different things through their participation in PIP depending on their specific needs and goals. Together, the participant and the peer partner plan an individualized professional development program and then decide how to implement it. Some common areas in which participants gain expertise are lesson planning and presentation, classroom management, implementation of standards and developing healthy professional relationships.
How do peer partners help?
This depends upon your specific professional needs. Each member receives tailor-made one-on-one support. Many members have appreciated: modeling; classroom demonstrations; collaborative lesson planning support; learning to explore outside resources and materials.
How long will the collaboration process last?
Again, this depends upon your needs. The only limit is that it can't exceed one year.
How often will I see my peer partner?
Your peer partner will visit you several full days each month, or multiple half-days, depending on both your schedules.
Will participating in this program require time beyond the regular school day?
Yes.Your peer partner will work directly with you in the classroom, and additionally on your prep and/or lunch period. You should also be prepared to meet before and/or after school. We are there to support you. What you put into it, is what you’ll get out of it!
If I participate, will I be viewed as a weak teacher?
You are taking a positive proactive step to work on your pedagogy. It is much more likely that colleagues with whom you choose to share will respect that.
What happens at the end of the collaboration process?
This is up to you and the peer partner. We hope that you will find yourself a more effective teacher. But it is also possible that the peer partner will urge you to get more assistance or to consider career alternatives. If you’re interested, our alternative careers liaison will help you prepare to look for a job outside teaching.
Who will know that I'm in the program?
The peer partner must introduce him/herself to your principal and to your UFT chapter leader. Because PIP is a contractually confidential program, together, you and the peer partner will decide how she/he will be introduced to all others.
What if my principal or supervisor wants to observe and evaluate me during my participation in this program?
The contract specifically prohibits any observation and evaluation for the first three months of collaboration. However, supervisors will otherwise continue to exercise their responsibilities.
Who decides whether I apply to PIP?
You do. The contract guarantees your right to apply and it is a voluntary program. No one may prevent you from or force you to apply. However, colleagues and administrators familiar with our program have helpfully recommended PIP to teachers.
Can I apply to this program if I have not received a U-rating, ineffective rating or a formal warning?
Yes. If you have good reason to believe that you would benefit from pedagogical support, you are welcome to apply. The only requirements are that you are a tenured educator teaching in a fulltime program with regular continuous classes and are committed to high standards of instruction.
If I apply, is my acceptance guaranteed?
No. We carefully review all applications, and within the limits of program resources, select participants who desire to improve their teaching skills. Those not accepted are referred to other appropriate sources of assistance.
Can this program help me if I have been denied such things as a transfer, medical leave, or sabbatical leave?
No. This program is designed to help you improve your teaching skills. For other kinds of assistance, your UFT chapter leader can advise you how to proceed.
How can I get more information? How and when do I apply?
What’s the catch?
There is no catch! Participating in the Partners in Progress: Peer Intervention Program will affect none of your rights or privileges as guaranteed by the contract and protected by the union. And you will get the professional help you’ve been looking for!