Teacher ‘Residencies’ Get Federal Funding to Augment Training

By Stephen Sawchuk — October 09, 2009 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The recent announcement of $43 million in teacher-preparation grants by the U.S. Department of Education puts the first federal financing behind the burgeoning “residency” model of teacher training.

The agency awarded 28 grants, primarily to university-based partnerships, under a retooled federal program that supports teacher preparation.

The financing, announced Sept. 30, arrives as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who has emphasized teacher evaluation and compensation recently, prepares to turn his attention to the nation’s schools of education in several speeches this month.

James H. Shelton, an assistant deputy secretary, said in an interview that the grants support the Obama administration’s overall agenda for teacher quality. “We’re excited that [the partnerships] are stepping up to be thoughtful about how to use the data on student achievement to change their programs,” he said.

The department plans to make additional awards in early 2010 with the $100 million provided for the program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The funding comes as a windfall for supporters of the teacher-residency approach, which stakes training on a yearlong clinical practicum for teacher-candidates. But because of the relative novelty of the model, the new grants’ effects on teacher retention and on student achievement will likely be tracked closely.

“One of the challenging things is that these grants are for five years, and residencies are very expensive,” said Ada Beth Cutler, the dean of the education school at Montclair State University, in New Jersey, which won a grant to begin a residency program in the Newark school district. “We have to prove together that this will have the projected outcome and will make a difference.”

Eye on Partnerships

Federal lawmakers overhauled the long-standing Teacher Quality Partnership grant program as part of the 2008 renewal of the Higher Education Act. The legislation consolidates three funding streams into a program that puts a heavier emphasis on student-teaching and requires colleges of education to work with local districts to address their specific teaching needs.

Award Winners

Millions of dollars will be doled out by the federal government to reform traditional teacher preparation and create teacher-residency programs. Grantees are to do either or both.


SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education

In particular, partnerships were encouraged to consider the residency model, which provides candidates with financial support during their residencies in exchange for commitments to teach in those communities for several years. All but nine of the funded grants include a residency component.

With its reduced coursework but extensive student-teaching, the residency model rests somewhere between traditional preparation pathways and alternative routes. The best-known examples are located in Boston, Chicago, and Denver, and the new grants represent a significant scaling-up.

“It’s a huge shift in the landscape, where you’re seeing universities adopt the work of nonprofit groups” that created the first residency programs just under a decade ago, said Anissa Listak, the managing director of Urban Teacher Residency United, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that crafts residency standards.

Answering Questions

Supporters of the model say the grants could provide additional data about the approach, such as the ideal size of the residency cohort, an effective sequencing of coursework, and the model’s applicability in nonurban settings.

“I think there is a lot of good reason and good evidence to make us believe this is an effective model, ... but I think what’s up in the air is how far can you stretch the boundaries,” said Jane E. West, the vice president of government affairs for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, based in Washington. “We have a lot to learn here.”

Bard College, for instance, will use its grant to support a residency program in a combination charter school and education program it operates in rural Delano, Calif. Most residencies are located in large cities.

“There may be more potential for really changing over a community’s attitude toward education in ways that are productive for kids,” said Ric Campbell, the college’s dean of education.

A version of this article appeared in the October 14, 2009 edition of Education Week as Teacher ‘Residencies’ Get Federal Funding To Augment Training


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Law & Courts Webinar
Future of the First Amendment:Exploring Trends in High School Students’ Views of Free Speech
Learn how educators are navigating student free speech issues and addressing controversial topics like gender and race in the classroom.
Content provided by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal The Senate Gun Bill: What It Would Mean for School Safety, Mental Health Efforts
Details of a bipartisan Senate agreement on guns outline additional funding to support student mental health programs.
6 min read
Protesters take to the streets of downtown Detroit June 11 to call for new gun laws. One holds up a sign that says "policy and change."
Protesters call for new gun laws in Detroit's March for Our Lives event earlier this month.
KT Kanazawich for Education Week
Federal What Educators Need to Know About Senators' Bipartisan Deal on Guns, School Safety
In addition to gun restrictions, a tentative compromise would also fund mental health and school safety programs—but it faces hurdles.
4 min read
Protesters hold up a sign that shows the outline of a rifle struck through with a yellow line at a demonstration in support of stronger gun laws.
Protesters gather for the March For Our Lives rally in Detroit, among the demonstrations against gun violence held on the heels of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas.
KT Kanazawich for Education Week
Federal Senate Negotiators Announce a Deal on Guns, Breaking Logjam
The agreement offers modest gun curbs and bolstered efforts to improve school safety and mental health programs.
5 min read
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., speaks during a rally near Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 10, 2022, urging Congress to pass gun legislation. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Federal Education Secretary: 'Let's Transform Our Appreciation of Teachers to Action'
Miguel Cardona shared strategies to help recruit, develop, and retain effective teachers.
5 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year event in the White House on April 27.
Susan Walsh/AP