Frequently Asked Questions

BEING A BETA

What is Blue Engine?

Blue Engine is an education nonprofit based in New York City. Our mission is to implement a team teaching model that brings together teams of educators in a single classroom to create a more engaging and personalized educational experience for 8th, 9th and 10th grade Algebra and English/Language Arts students across the city.

What is a Blue Engine Teaching Apprentice (BETA)?

A Blue Engine Teaching Apprentice (BETA) is a full-time AmeriCorps Service Member. BETAs work with one or two other BETAs and alongside a certified teacher to form one team to implement and execute Blue Engine’s team teaching model. BETAs have an immersive classroom experience where they typically provide small group instruction, execute student goal setting conferences, collect and analyze student data, build relationships with students in service of students’ academic growth as well as teachers and peers to build their expertise as a novice educator. BETAs can also be expected to have exposure to and participate in to various instructional models, learn from coaches, teachers, and peers and participate in professional development opportunities that will prepare them for their next step after their service year completion.

What is a Team Coordinator (TC)?

A Team Coordinator (TC) is second year BETA with increased responsibilities. After completing one year of service as a BETA, a limited number of BETAs will have the opportunity to apply and serve a second year as a TC. TCs support BETAs during their first year of service and can choose to enroll in the Relay Graduate School of Education, a teacher residency program in partnership with Blue Engine, to become a certified, full-time teacher. TCs earned an increase leaving stipend.

Who should apply to become a BETA?

The BETA role is ideal for individuals with a desire to learn and grow within a team, who believe that the current educational system and structures contribute to vast amounts of untapped student potential, and are excited to reimagine what teaching looks like through the team teaching approach.

The BETA role is a great opportunity for both individuals who are looking for an entry point into the teaching profession, as well as those who want to more broadly learn about teaching, different educational models, the public school system and student experiences. We also welcome individuals who want to grow as a leader and professional before pursuing other paths.

What is the time commitment?

BETAs are full-time AmeriCorps member serving a minimum of 1700 hours over the course of 11 months. The role begins on August 1 with onboarding (or training) and service continues through the end of June of the following year. During the school year, BETAs work in teams with a certified teacher from the start of the school day to the conclusion of any after-school responsibilities and/or commitments. BETAs day to day schedule mirrors that of their team’s certified teacher. Occasional weekend and service day commitments, and working outside of school hours are required and will be shared well in advance.

There is an option to complete a second year as a TC. Please see the “What is a TC?” for more details.

Which subjects would I be teaching?

Blue Engine partners with English Language Arts (ELA) or Math in grades 6 through 11. These are gateway subjects (i.e. subjects that when mastered can set up students to be successful throughout their academic careers) during critical years of a student’s educational experience. Please note that Blue Engine actively recruits students from all academic backgrounds, not just those with advanced Math or English skills.

What is the compensation?

In partnership with AmeriCorps, BETAs receive a living stipend of $17,000 (or $772.73 bi-monthly). BETAs also receive an education award of $6,095 (upon successful completion as a full-time member of the program) that can be used towards existing loans or the cost of future higher education after the year has been successfully completed. Additionally, BETAs are eligible to apply for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits and are provided an unlimited Metrocard for public transportation use (subways, buses).

Where do BETAs live in the city?

BETAs live in neighborhoods in or near the schools in which they teach. There are no specific housing requirements, as there are BETAs who select other options, such as commuting from home within New York/New Jersey, living with non-BETAs, etc.

Planning and being conscious of your individual budgeting needs is important and different people have come up with different systems. If a prospective BETA is particularly concerned about this, Blue Engine is happy to put them in touch with a current BETA to discuss further.

After selected applicants accept their offers, Blue Engine provides helpful information about navigating the apartment searching process. We also facilitate social media groups that help connect BETAs who are looking for roommates to each other.

What is BETA training like?

Summer onboarding (i.e. training) begins August 1. During onboarding, BETAs will learn about the purpose of their work in classrooms and how relationships are the cornerstone to every facet of their work; the history of education in historically oppressed communities and how they impact the current classroom contexts; foundational skills to engage students in rigorous content that builds conceptual understanding and positions students as competent sense-makers; provide summer school support; and foundational skills in measuring student impact through data practices. BETAs also meet with their teams and learn how to make teams effective in the classrooms, as well as hone in on their individual roles on a team. There are also training sessions dedicated to learning about mindsets that are critical when developing culturally responsive pedagogy.

What does a typical day in the classroom look like?

Every classroom can look different depending on school placement, subject area and the certified teacher. BETAs arrive at their schools at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the day. BETAs most often share material preparation and creation, provide in-classroom instruction, tutor over lunch, provide after school tutoring three times a week and frequently take papers home to grade. At the end of the teaching day, they hold meetings, complete student data tracking and analysis, and complete grading or planning as needed. BETAs have the opportunity to take on more responsibility as it aligns to their professional goals (i.e. teach a whole class, create lesson plans, etc.) as the year progresses. In addition, BETAs may also start/run clubs of their interest at their school.
Additionally, BETAs may need to participate in school events (parent/teacher conferences, celebrations, etc.) that may take place after school. Parent phone calls are made in the evening if parents work during the day.

Is there an option to become a certified teacher through the BETA experience?

During the optional second year, TCs can choose to participate in Blue Engine’s residency program through Relay Graduate School of Education. Once certified, BETAs often enter teacher positions at the schools they served as BETAs, but are also eligible to work anywhere in New York State and have the option to explore reciprocity in other states.

The cost is around $7,000 out of pocket (it is the responsibility of the enrolled TC to cover these expenses). The AmeriCorps education award can be used to cover this cost.

APPLYING & INTERVIEWING

Does Blue Engine accept applications after August 1?

BETAs accepted into the Teaching Apprenticeship program after August 1st are taken on a case-by-case basis. We aim to have all BETAs selected by the end of June.

How do I apply to become a BETA?

The BETA admissions process consistent of three parts. Part one is the submission of an online application which consistent of some basic information about yourself, your resume and short answer response(s). Part two is for qualified candidates to complete pre-work in advance of participating in a BETA Final Interview day. Part three is to participate in a scheduled BETA Interview Day. The BETA Interview Day is full one day in-person* experience where you can expect to participate in a group activity, present your demo lesson, and then participate in a 1:1 interview.

*We are able to grant virtual interviews as needed based on extenuating circumstances for qualified BETA candidates.

When can I apply?

Applications are typically open in September of the preceding year. There are numerous rounds of applications, and applicants are accepted on a rolling basis.

HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS?

Email recruitment@blueengine.org.