FAQs

Overview

I accepted an offer with KIPP for the Graduate Teaching Fellowship. Am I automatically enrolled into the Relay Graduate School of Education?

Your offer from KIPP is contingent upon successfully being admitted to the Relay Graduate School of Education. In order to be admitted to Relay, you must submit your application and all supporting documentation (including official, hard-copy, degree-conferred transcripts from all institutions attended) by the application deadline. Because we review all candidates’ unofficial transcripts, you should be admitted into Relay’s program without issue unless you fail to complete your admissions application on time or your official transcripts differ from your unofficial transcripts. Please do not apply to the Relay Graduate School of Education until you receive an offer from KIPP as Relay will send you specific instructions/next steps.

When does the Graduate Teaching Fellowship program begin?

The program begins with a two-week in-person summer session in July (you are not paid during Relay summer programming). Your employment with KIPP begins in early August. 

Am I a full-time teacher my first year?

You are a full-time employee, but will not be the lead teacher in your first year. You share a classroom with a strong, experienced teacher who gradually gives you more teaching responsibilities in the classroom. In your second year, you are the lead teacher of record in your own classroom.  

When do I attend graduate classes with Relay?

Throughout both years of the program, Fellows will attend three in-person graduate classes each month: two on a weeknight (typically every other week) and one on a Saturday. Fellows will also complete an average of 8-10 hours of online coursework each month and submit assessments. During the first year of the program, Fellows will also attend a weekly, three-hour, in-person Deliberate Practice session on Fridays (during the school day). 

What is Deliberate Practice?

Practice is the most promising pathway to excellent teaching. Deliberate practice — that is, practice with a focus on the concrete and specific teaching skills that maximize impact in the classroom — is a cornerstone of the Fellowship experience. Fellows participate in weekly practice sessions, each lasting three hours, to develop and refine their teaching skills. Fellows are released from their teaching responsibilities and join Relay faculty and other Fellows from the region for these sessions.

What happens if I leave the program before the two-year commitment?

If you leave the program prior to finishing the two years, you will not have completed all the requirements for your Master of Arts in Teaching degree or Texas teacher certification so you will not earn a degree or certification from Relay. Additionally, you will owe tuition reimbursement (to both KIPP and Relay) for the upfront tuition KIPP pays on our Fellows’ behalf. 

When am I expected to pay tuition?

The Relay master’s program costs $17,000 each year, but thanks to the generosity of our donors, KIPP, and the support of AmeriCorps, Fellows will pay only $6,500 out of pocket. Fellows are paid a salary both years of the program ($30,000 in year 1 and $53,000 in year 2). Fellows do not pay anything back to Relay/KIPP in their first year of the program. The $7,000 out-of-pocket expense will come in year 2 of the program.

Certification

What certification areas does Relay Graduate School of Education offer?

Within the Relay Alternative Certification Program (ACP), you may pursue certification in one of the following areas: 

  • Core Subjects EC - 6
  • Core Subjects 4 - 8
  • English Language Arts & Reading 7 - 12
  • Mathematics 7 - 12
  • Science 7 - 12
  • Social Studies 7 - 12

In order to teach at the high school level, you must have 12 to 15 credit hours in the respective content/subject area

I am currently enrolled in an Alternative Certification Program in Texas. Will this be an issue?

If you have already passed a TExES content exam in a certification area offered by Relay, you can transfer to the Relay ACP. In most cases, certification training hours or requirements completed in another ACP program will not transfer to Relay. If you have not already passed an appropriate TExES content exam, you will need to do so prior to admission to the Relay ACP. Please email houston@relay.edu (include your TEA ID number) with questions.

What if I already have a teaching certificate in Texas or another state?

You can still be a Graduate Teaching Fellow and pursue your Master of Arts in Teaching at Relay, if you already hold a standard certificate in Texas or are planning to transfer your certification from out-of-state to Texas. 

Selection Process

What are the qualifications for the Fellowship?

Applicants must hold a four-year degree from an accredited university with a minimum GPA of a 2.75 in addition to a certain number of credit hours. We do not make exceptions for GPAs lower than a 2.75. If your GPA is below a 2.75 but you are a senior/finishing up coursework, your cumulative GPA must be a 2.75 or higher by the time you graduate. We also do not take graduate coursework or GPA into consideration. 

I'm really interested in teaching a high school subject. Do I meet the requirements? 

In order to teach high school, applicants must have 12 to 15 credit hours in the respective subject/content area of either math, English, science and/or social studies (this cannot be a combination of credits from different areas- they must all be from the same subject/content area).

In order to teach Elementary or Middle School, applicants must have a total combination of 12 credits from the following areas (math, English, science and/or social studies). 

The Fellowship recruitment/selection team will review all transcripts and will let applicants know what they are qualified to teach prior to their in-person interview. 

What does an interview day look like for a candidate?

An interview day includes an information session, a tour of one of our schools, lunch with our students, an article discussion, Q&A session with a current KIPP Fellows, and two separate interviews with leaders from KIPP and Relay.

I currently live out of state. Does KIPP provide travel reimbursement for the interview day?

KIPP has allocated a certain number of travel stipends for candidates traveling more than 250 miles to Houston (to be used for plane tickets, hotel, public transportation, and/or rental cars). In order to receive a reimbursement, candidates must provide all copies of itemized receipts and reimbursements are paid out two to three weeks after the interview day. More information will be given out to candidates that make it to the final interview stage. 

As a teacher, can I apply for the fellowship program?

The Fellowship is designed for aspiring teachers who do not have any lead teaching experience. If you have been a teacher of record/in your own classroom for a year or longer, you are not eligible for the Fellowship. If you have student teaching, tutoring, substitute teaching experience, or did not complete a full year of lead teaching, you are still qualified for this Fellowship.

How many applications does KIPP receive for the Graduate Teaching Fellowship? 

Last year KIPP received over 700 applications for 2018-2019 cohort. 

Fellow Placement

How are fellows placed?

Fellows can be placed at any school in a PreK-4th-grade classroom, or in a secondary math, English, science, or social studies classroom. Placements are determined by school need, Fellow Advisor availability, and Fellow preferences. Priority for placement preferences (content, grade level, and location) will be given to those who apply to the earlier deadlines. The earlier you apply, the more likely you receive a placement in your preferred content and grade level. 

When will I know my placement?

If you are accepted into the Fellowship, you will be given a generic placement from the following areas: primary (anywhere from PK4 to 4th grade), middle (anywhere from 5th grade to 8th grade) or a specific subject area in high school (math, science, English or social studies). While we do take your preferences into consideration, KIPP and Relay ultimately decide your general placement. Specific school, grade level, and subject placements will not be given out until early June. 

Other

Is the Fellowship offered in different cities?

The KIPP Graduate Teaching Fellowship is only offered in Houston. 

How do I go about obtaining housing and transportation in Houston?

It is the Fellow’s responsibility to find housing and transportation. Once you accept an offer with KIPP, you will be asked to fill out a preference survey and will have the option to connect with other Fellows looking for a roommate. We highly recommend you have your own private mode of transportation as Houston is a large city without a strong public transportation system. We suggest you have your housing and transportation secured prior to the summer session once you receive your school placement (given out the first week of June). Fellows who accept an offer will receive more advice and information about moving to Houston.

Are relocation stipends provided for the Graduate Teaching Fellowship?

KIPP Houston does not provide relocation stipends for the Graduate Teaching Fellowship.

If I receive an offer with the Graduate Teaching Fellowship, when do I have to make my final decision?

We typically ask our candidates to make a decision a week after receiving their offer. 

I'm currently in a MAT program, can I transfer my credits?

Graduate students in the Relay Graduate School of Education's Master of Arts in Teaching program follow an intentionally designed, spiraled curriculum that addresses the needs of beginning teachers in concert with the Fellowship experience. Relay does not accept transfer credits from other institutions.