Client Spotlight: Johns Hopkins University School of Education

picture of the author, Lynn Bagwan by Lynn Bagwan, July 8th 2016

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is home to one of the nation’s top graduate schools of education. In fact, US News and World Report ranked them second overall this year among all such programs in the country. This impressive accolade is just one reason why we proudly shine our client spotlight on JHU’s School of Education (SOE) this week. 

To understand the evolution of Torsh’s affiliation with SOE, it’s helpful to learn more about the university’s long-standing relationship with Teach for America (TFA). TFA takes recent college graduates and places them as teachers in low-income schools across the nation. Last fall, SOE teamed up with TFA to form a special Master of Science in Education program available only to current or former TFA corps members. Nine of the thirty-nine required credits are waived in light of participation in the TFA Summer Institute, which prepares new members for their classroom assignments.  All individuals in the program, specifically TFA alumni, must be actively teaching to stay enrolled. 

The success of JHU’s SOE/TFA Masters program, which was first available only to teachers in the Baltimore area, led the university to roll it out nationwide. It’s now available online to all TFA corps members and alumni, regardless of their geographic location. 

Teacher observation is a crucial component of the degree curriculum. But, since many of the participating TFA corps members are not located in the Baltimore area, how can professors evaluate each teacher’s performance in the classroom? 

It’s this conundrum that led SOE to Torsh about a year ago. Our teacher professional development tool, known as Torsh TALENT, is first and foremost a highly-effective way for teachers to reflect on their own practice. It also enables a teacher to record him or herself at work in the classroom, upload the video, and share it with colleagues, professors, mentors and supervisors. No specialized equipment is required. Any teacher with a smartphone or tablet can record their classroom instruction and upload it to the TALENT platform. 

This year, Torsh TALENT was used by over 800 graduate students in Johns Hopkins SOE/TFA Master’s degree program. This gave the university a chance to experience TALENT, and see how effective a tool it is in the training and professional development of teachers. 

Needless to say, university decision makers were impressed. Therefore starting July 1, 2016, Torsh TALENT will be used throughout the entire School of Education at JHU, not just in their TFA Master’s degree program. 

There is nothing more affirming than when you can take a client, especially one with the pedigree of this university, and grow the relationship. We are delighted to be part of Johns Hopkin’s continued commitment to excellence in teacher training. We can’t wait to see how this year unfolds, knowing how many dedicated students will be using Torsh TALENT as they work towards their undergraduate and advanced degrees.  



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