Lead Teacher (Full-time Position)

REPORTS TO:  Director of Programs

SUMMARY

exalt elevates expectations of personal success for youth ages 15-19 who’ve been involved in the criminal
justice system. We inspire youth at a critical crossroads to believe in their worth, from the first steps in
contemplation through the journey to create lasting behavioral change. Our powerful combination of structured
classes for tangible skill development, individualized support to navigate the education and justice
systems, placement in paid internships and an alumni network of resources equips youth with the tools
and experience to avoid further criminal justice system involvement. At exalt, we empower youth to see a future
filled with hope – and we provide the road map to get there.
The Lead Teacher teaches three components of exalt’s core educational program: 1) a 6-week pre-internship
preparation class, which utilizes a curriculum linking employability skills, educational engagement and
avoidance of justice system involvement to a set of four core skills: critical thinking, communication, creative
problem-solving and “resource management;” 2) eight Friday Seminars (during the 8-Week Internship Phase),
which build upon the 6-week classroom curriculum and give opportunity for participants to reflect on their
internship experiences; and 3) a 2-week post-internship class, which is allows students to further synthesize
their internship experiences with prior classroom learning and develop tangible goals and strategies for post-
program justice system avoidance, successful engagement in school, and employability.

Essential to our curriculum is the application of a Friere-inspired critical pedagogical approach which validates
and builds on participants’ experiences, cultures, skills and interests while building discipline and accountability
–inspiring and enabling them to internalize the four core skills we focus on, and apply them to decision making
regarding interactions in school, on the streets with peers or police, or in professional environments that hold
potential opportunities for them.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Teach 5 program cycles annually, consisting of: a 6-week Pre-Internship Training class (4:30-6:30/7pm, Monday-Thursday), eight Friday Seminars (4:30-6:30pm during the internship phase), and a 2-week Post-Internship Phase class (4:30-6:30/7pm Monday-Thursday). Classes will be comprised of approximately 17 youth per class, ages 15-19. The Lead Teacher will be prepared to:
    • Engage youth typically resistant to educational settings.
    • Gauge Individual student learning styles, challenges and strengths, and tailor instruction to maximize student engagement and comprehension.
    • Communicate regularly with exalt staff to share students' obstacles, assets, and opportunities and incorporate information into class instruction through email and meetings.
    • Write weekly progress notes assessing developmental progress and setbacks of students.
    • Prepare court letters and attend court for students as needed.
    • Devise strategies to address the diverse needs of students at risk of program incompletion;
    • Link all classroom discussion and instruction to exalt's long term goals for students: increased investment and persistence in school, employability, and sustained avoidance of further justice system involvement.
  • Conduct all four core skill pre and post assessments on schedule.
  • Collaborate with Program Coordinator(s) to develop individualized goals for students and support their progress towards goals by conducting school visits, attending court, or developing other resources as needed.
  • Conduct outreach to program alum on a regular basis to assess and support their ongoing progress and needs, particularly in terms of education, criminal justice system avoidance, and employment.
  • Work with Director of Programs and program team to review curriculum regularly and develop adaptations, innovations, and additions as necessary. Update/amend curriculum to include changes signed off on by Program Director.
  • Assists other senior staff manage organizational culture on a day-to-day basis. This includes monitoring
    students’ general behavior in the office space, greeting and directing external constituents appropriately;
    and other duties as assigned.

Competencies

  • Demonstrated ability to manage a classroom of high school age youth typically resistant to educational settings. Balance clear structure, accountability and discipline with engaging teaching style to facilitate high participation and interest from students.
  • Adaptability: Able to adapt quickly to new information and unexpected obstacles, and approach change positively. Can adapt exalt’s curriculum to the specific needs, learning styles and personalities of each cohort of students.
  • Applied learning: Able to learn and apply new position-related information quickly i.e. all exalt youth interface with the juvenile or criminal (adult) justice systems. Lead Teachers must become familiar with these systems to understand their role in students’ lives and meaning in curriculum.
  • Cultural competence: has strong familiarity with and understanding of exalt students’ histories, cultures and the socio-economic and political factors which have shaped those, and can use culturally relevant and contextualized lessons and teaching methods in class. Classes are typically comprised of 80% Black American and Caribbean youth and 20% Latin(x) youth.
  • Communication: Clearly and effectively conveys and receives information and ideas to/from students and colleagues through a variety of media. Demonstrates strong written, oral and listening skills.
  • Planning and Organization: Organizes work, sets priorities, determines resources requirements and seeks input and support from supervisors/colleagues; determines necessary sequence of activities needed to achieve goals.
  • Decision-Making and Stress Management: exalt students face a plethora of obstacles in their lives and often have pending court requirements that put their freedom in jeopardy. Staff must be able to manage making challenging decisions (e.g. potentially releasing a student from the program who cannot meet standards despite program flexibility), and balance the emotional aspects of working with young people facing severe challenges.

Performance Measures

  • Students’ progress in classroom engagement and participation as measured through likert scales, attendance, adherence to program contract obligations, and progress notes.
  • Students’ progress in comprehension, internalization and application of exalt’s four core skills and additional curriculum content as measured through pre and post program assessments.
  • Retention of at least 75% of enrolled students in each class through entire 6 week pre-internship classroom session, and 59-65% full program completion.

QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS:

  • Bachelors Degree required.
  • Minimum of 3 years teaching experience in high school or an alternative educational program
  • Familiarity working with court-involved youth or similarly "at-risk" population of high- school aged youth.
  • Bilingual (Spanish speaking) a plus.

TO APPLY: Please send resume and cover letter to apply@exaltyouth.org (Please indicate in cover letter what interests you about the position. Resumes without cover letters will not be considered.) People of color and formerly system involved individuals strongly encouraged to apply. exalt is an equal opportunity employer.