Bank Street believes that teachers should learn through the same kinds of intensive clinical-practice models as those used in medicine and other professions. Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College helps realize this vision by finding pathways to support and sustain high-quality teacher preparation so every teacher is ready to take on the challenges of the 21st century classroom.
In 2018, the program launched the National Learning Network to help teacher education institutions create residencies that pay aspiring teachers to co-teach with a mentor teacher for an entire year before taking charge of their own classrooms, thus providing them with more time to hone their skills and develop their confidence. To date, the National Learning Network has supported partnerships with 19 teacher preparation programs in seven states across the country.
“Network sites are committing to more than just creating new programs—they’re transforming the teacher preparation landscape by building scalable, sustainable funded residencies to meet local hiring needs,” said Karen DeMoss, Executive Director, Prepared To Teach.
Through this work, Prepared To Teach helps universities work with local school districts to imagine new ways to use existing dollars within school and district budgets to fund candidate stipends. As universities and districts iron out the logistics, Prepared To Teach documents the process to guide a “learning agenda” that can help inform other programs looking to make a similar shift to sustainable candidate funding. Examples of successful partnerships include:
- Ferndale Public Schools in Washington State, which has reallocated school-level funding lines for substitute paraprofessionals to support a cohort of 21 teacher residents from Western Washington University. The program allows residents to serve as paraprofessional substitutes and assessment administrators, providing dollars for aspiring teachers. In addition, the district integrates residents into their professional development offerings and supplies laptops.
- In New Mexico, where teacher turnover was so high and residency-prepared candidates so valued, Albuquerque Public Schools found $500,000 to reinvest from personnel savings resulting from unfilled positions into resident supports in their University of New Mexico residency partnership.
- The College of Staten Island in New York, through its work on curriculum alignment, found that longer clinical placements and integrated assessment and experiential learning components of the residency allowed them to reduce required coursework by 12 credits, saving candidates $9,100 compared to what the tuition bill would have been.
Now, Prepared To Teach is moving forward with strong partnership sites in California, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Washington State to establish virtual communities of practice focused on supporting local change in teacher preparation landscapes by connecting these innovative programs to share ideas, troubleshoot challenges, and build the shared knowledge base on teacher preparation.
“These virtual sessions will be an opportunity for teams at each site to learn from others who are doing similar work across the country,” said Divya Mansukhani, Learning Agenda Director, Prepared To Teach. “We are looking forward to facilitating these conversations and learning more about what the change process looks like for our partners.”
For more information on Prepared To Teach or to explore the program’s resources, visit bankstreet.edu/prepared-to-teach.