Evidence suggests that urban teacher “residency” programs are attracting talented and diverse recruits to high-needs schools and helping keep them in those schools, a new report says.
In urban-teacher residencies, rigorously selected aspiring teachers integrate their master’s level schoolwork with a full year of classroom teaching alongside an experienced mentor. In the second year, they become teachers in their own classrooms while still receiving mentoring.
The report from the Center for Teaching Quality in Hillsborough, N.C., and the Aspen Institute, which is headquartered in Washington, looked closely at two of the nation’s longest-running residency programs, in Chicago and Boston.
Both programs have succeeded in attracting high-quality candidates of color, the report says. For instance, 57 percent of Chicago’s residents and 53 percent of Boston’s residents are members of minority groups.
After three years, 95 percent of Chicago’s residents and 90 percent of Boston’s residents were still teaching.
The report says not enough data on the residencies is available to gauge their effect on student achievement, but that both programs are pursuing efforts to address that issue.
School administrators’ assessments, meanwhile, indicate that residents enter schools well-prepared with skills that enhance their effectiveness.
The residencies cost more upfront than most university-based and alternate pathways to certification, but their benefits can reach well beyond the scope of most teacher-preparation programs, the report argues.
Also, financial data suggest that successful residencies could be cost-effective, because the initial expense of a full-time, paid internship under the supervision of a master teacher can be offset over time by increased retention of novice teachers and increased teaching effectiveness.
The recently reauthorized Higher Education Act calls for funds to support such programs.
A version of this article appeared in the August 27, 2008 edition of Education Week