Partner Feature – Capital City Public Charter School

2012 Inspired Teaching Fellow Jessie Curry (top left) looks on during an all-school assembly with students and 2015 Inspired Teaching Fellows, who she mentored during their time teaching summer school at Capital City Public Charter School.

January 24, 2017

Inspired Teaching Fellows enter the profession through a two-year, residency-based program, spending a year learning from lead teachers in aligned partner schools before they take over classrooms of their own. Capital City Public Charter School was Inspired Teaching’s first residency partner site. We selected Capital City due to its strong academics and leadership, and due to our shared dedication to building a better school experience through instruction that prepares students to thrive in an increasingly complex world. We’re proud to count Capital City as one of our longest and closest partners.

The alignment between Inspired Teaching and all of its residency partner sites is critical in ensuring a seamless connection between theory and practice. Residents at Capital City learn to teach under the school’s mission: “Capital City Public Charter School enables a diverse group of students to meet high expectations, develop creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, achieve a deep understanding of complex subjects, acquire a love of learning, along with a strong sense of community and character.”

Training during a residency year at an aligned site helps build the foundation for the Fellows’ approach to teaching over the rest of their careers. 2012 Inspired Teaching Fellow Jessie Curry explains, “I credit Inspired Teaching with helping me figure out the kind of teacher I wanted to be. One of the biggest pieces of that was getting paired with my lead teacher at Capital City. She really became my mentor, guided me, and helped me figure out how to be a good teacher.”

Jessie has continued to teach at Capital City since her residency year, in large part “because their view of children aligns so much with mine and with Inspired Teaching.” At both Capital City and Inspired Teaching, she says, “there is an emphasis placed on academic rigor and proficiency, and an equal emphasis on social skills and learning things like: how do I solve problems, how do I think about things in a new way, how do I express myself to others, how do I listen to others… All of that should be focused on.”

After years of leading a classroom of her own, Jessie’s journey at Capital City has come full circle: she is now a lead teacher for an Inspired Teaching Fellow in her residency year. “It’s nice to know that I can help someone find her path as a teacher,” she says. In both roles, the school has given her meaningful support and opportunities to collaborate with her peers. The school’s leadership ensures residents and leads feel confident in their own growth while creating powerful learning experiences for their students.

Karen Dresden, Head of School at Capital City, expressed how the partnership with Inspired Teaching strengthens the school: “The year that Fellows spend in our building has a great impact on our school community, allowing for more direct support of students and individualized lessons.” Over time, the partnership also helps Capital City to influence the instruction of students across the city. Most Inspired Teaching Fellows leave Capital City after their residency year to teach elsewhere. “In addition to the positive impact on our school community,” Karen continued, “the lasting reach extends beyond our school through the Fellows’ long-term commitment to teaching in DC, where they will continue to strengthen the school communities they join.”

Learn more about Capital City by visiting their website. If you are interested in becoming a teacher through the Inspired Teacher Certification, the application is now open for the next cohort of Inspired Teaching Fellows. Explore the program at

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