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UITE Connect. "It Comes from the Heart"

“This project was residing in our hearts for a long time,” says Dr. Udita Gupta of the Urban Institute for Teacher Education (UITE), UITE Connect program, which provides UITE alumni with a supportive network for 3 years after graduation. “Our student-teachers enjoy strong support throughout their licensure year and want to continue with that support during their early teaching years too,” says Gupta. Now, with UITE Connect, this kind of collaboration and support are possible.  

UITE Connect steps into those early years, providing a support and collaborative network for elementary and secondary educators. Participants use WhatsApp, email, or Canvas to regularly communicate with one another and the mentoring team, Dr. Uidta Gupta and Peggy McCandless from UITE, and Angela Solum, Assistant Principal at Riley Elementary from the Salt Lake School District and Kelly Haakenson, Social Studies teacher at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education, also in Salt Lake City School District. In addition, second- and third-year educators are able to help mentor first-year educators, passing along ideas, resources, and the wisdom gained from their own teaching experiences.

The mentoring team uses questions posed to the group through the various platforms to identify themes. These themes are then used to structure the group’s monthly meetings where the groups discuss the themes, shares resources from mentors and participants, and talks about strategies and approaches for dealing with classroom challenges. Some of the issues that the mentor team is seeing and will address in upcoming meetings are trauma-informed teaching, time management inside and outside the classroom, ways to connect with resources in the school and in the district, diversity, and managing disruptive students.  

Participants can choose to receive credit along with compensation for being a part of UITE Connect. But more so, the aim is to have our early career teachers leave with strong relationships, a larger, supportive and collaborative network of colleagues, acquisition of novel teaching skills, and enormous confidence as they move through their years in teaching.

People Involved: Udita Gupta (Secondary Teacher Preparation), Peggy McCandless (Elementary Teacher Preparation), Kelly Hakenson (Teacher, SLCSE), Angela Solum (Principal, Riley Elementary).


            Dr. Udita Gupta                                    Dr. Peggy McCandless

                               Udita Gupta                                                                            Peggy McCandless

             Secondary Teacher Preparation                                          Elementary Teacher Preparation

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Last Updated: 12/12/23