Project Pipeline, now known as Fortune School of Education
Two classroom management texts I recommend instead of "The First Days of School"
My Experience with Project Pipeline
Project Pipeline is an alternative teacher credentialing program based in Sacramento, California. Once accepted by the program, students attend a Teacher Recruitment Fair to interview with school districts in Northern California (Alameda County, Sacramento County and Contra Costa County are the major ones). If offered a teaching position by a school district, you are enrolled in Project Pipeline's District Intern program and can begin taking classes immediately.
I had a disappointing experience with Project Pipeline, and wanted to share that experience online with the hope of helping someone make a decision whether or not to choose the program. At the very least, I can offer more details about the program than the administrators are willing to divulge until after you've already made a commitment. To that end, please feel free to submit questions in the Comments section and I will do my best to answer them.
I learned about the program by attending an Information Session, and left feeling pretty excited and seriously considering applying. One of the points that Project Pipeline's recruiter kept making was that their tuition price included books, which is pretty rare. I jumped through all the hoops required for the application (a lot of tests, letters of recommendation, fees, etc.) and was accepted. I attended the Teacher Recruitment Fair and several districts were interested in me. I chose a small school district (which I highly recommend) and was excited about my teaching position.
Project Pipeline offers 4 courses over the course of the summer before you start teaching. What they won't tell you before you start, however, is that there is absolutely no flexibility when it comes to the hours and days you have to be in attendance. Monday through Friday, 5pm to 9pm, all summer. If you miss a day, you don't receive credit for the course.
Also sprung on us after classes started, was the news that books were no longer included in the price of tuition, and that we would have to return them after the class ended. This caused quite an uproar among our cohort, and a couple of students formally complained, and as a result we received one of the textbooks we used that summer, the most inane, in my opinion, The First Days of School, by Harry Wong, which sells for $20 on Amazon.
Another complaint I had about the summer courses was the quality of instruction we received. With the exception of one teacher, all of our teachers were poorly prepared and quite frankly, bad teachers. I've been through a lot of schooling and have dealt with the occasional boring professor, but this was just inexcusable. Methods commonly used included assigning each person a portion of the book to read, and reporting back to the class a summary of what you read. Sometimes we simply read the textbook in class!! Finally, I will never forget being handed Wikipedia articles on a particular topic as legitimate research ...
Project Pipeline is normally a two-year program, and for each month of those 2 years, they take tuition from your paycheck. Someone in my cohort found out about a way to finish the program in 1 year, called the Early Completion option, which the State of California requires Project Pipeline to offer, but of course they'll never voluntarily tell you about it. Basically, if you pass the Praxis series Teaching Foundations Exam (TFE) you can skip to the second year of the program and finish in one year. Several of us took and passed this test after letting our site coordinator know that we were planning to take this test. The site coordinator and Project Pipeline's senior recruiter both confirmed that if we passed the TFE, we would be able to complete the program in one year.
So after getting the results and letting Project Pipeline know that I passed, I get a response to the effect of "It's too late to tell us you passed the TFE, you were supposed to tell us before you started the program, and now you have to complete both years!" After my failed arguments of "You can't retroactively impose a deadline; your staff told me if I passed the TFE I could proceed with the Early Completion option" I decided to withdraw from the program.
I continued to teach, and had a great experience at the school, no thanks to Project Pipeline's "Supervisor" who was supposed to visit my classroom 8 times a year, but by January had only made it out once. For the record, instead of a district intern credential, I continued to teach on a Short Term Staff (STS) permit.