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Institute of Education Sciences Grant to Support Research on Colorado-Based Residency Program

--Bank Street College’s Sustainable Funding Project to Join Colorado Consortium of Residency Educators to Lead Resource and Cost-Analysis of Teacher Residency Programs--

New York, NY -- September 13, 2017 -- Bank Street College of Education, a recognized leader in early childhood education and teacher and leader preparation, announced today that its Sustainable Funding Project will join the Colorado Consortium of Residency Educators, a Colorado-based group of higher education partners and non-profit organizations, to study what makes teacher residencies effective and how to sustainably fund their most important elements. The project is funded by a $400,000 federal grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, a statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

As the number of teacher residency programs has grown in Colorado and across the country, the range of preparation approaches has grown as well, raising questions about the quality, costs, and effectiveness of these different approaches. This two-year study will analyze data from a range of residency program models from across the state to understand what makes programs effective, explore the true costs of residencies, and determine and document comparable metrics to understand program success.

The principal investigators for this study are Rebecca Kantor, dean of the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver, and Karen Riley, dean of the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. The Sustainable Funding Project, a non-profit program designed to research and support avenues for aspiring teachers to matriculate through affordable, high-quality preparation programs, will lead resource and cost-analyses for the project.

"Teacher residencies have generated excitement and discussion about potential improvements in the quality of teacher preparation, but we don’t fully understand the costs and benefits of these programs,” said Karen DeMoss, Director of the Sustainable Funding Project at Bank Street College. “This project is an opportunity to learn from the resources and practices at work in Colorado’s existing residencies and to build a foundation for new programs across the country.”

Teacher residencies, often compared to medical residencies, offer novice teachers yearlong experiences co-teaching with accomplished teachers as a central part of the preparation process. The first of its kind in the country, this study will determine the components of residency programs that serve as quality indicators of teacher effectiveness. Ultimately, the research will provide the state with the capacity to assess the quality of teacher residency programs, follow the transition of residents into the first years of teaching, and evaluate their investment.

The research is unique in that public, private, traditional, and alternative programs are all working together to understand the strongest aspects of their programs, the strength of their graduates, and the necessary investment to assure quality preparation for every candidate. This IES award is one of 15 nation-wide grants from the National Center for Education Research. The nation-wide grants total more than $12 million and are intended to foster partnerships between researchers and practitioners to study education policies, programs and practices.

New York Times Op-Ed: Train Teachers Like Doctors

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The Sustainable Funding Project at Bank Street has been grappling with the challenge of how to sustainably fund teacher preparation nationwide. In Summer 2016, The New York Times published our op-ed on some of the ideas behind our work. 
 
In the piece, we argue that funding yearlong co-teaching residencies should be a key priority for improving our educational systems. Residencies provide teacher candidates with the opportunity to work alongside an accomplished teacher while studying child development and teaching methods. Studies have found that graduates of teacher-residency programs are more likely to both improve student learning and remain in teaching longer than other new teachers. Here is an excerpt: 
 

If we are serious about improving public education, we need to invest in our aspiring teachers and ensure they get sustained practice with real coaching and support. The nation will need more than a million new teachers in the next decade. They will be teaching our future doctors, engineers, and pilots—all of whom will have high-quality professional training at the side of experts in their field. Our teachers deserve the same.
 

Read the full piece at New York Times.  If the ideas resonate, I hope you share it widely so we can build more awareness of the possibilities for strengthening future teachers' preparation opportunities. (Using features for sharing via the Times website will maximize coverage!)