Research shows that yearlong teacher residencies are helping to shift the teacher education landscape by supporting the recruitment, preparation, and retention of a robust and diverse teaching workforce.
To help create a shared understanding of high-quality teacher residencies and advance the role of residencies in educator preparation, Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College partnered with The Pathways Alliance and the National Center for Teacher Residencies to release a report titled Towards A National Definition of Teacher Residencies.
Co-constructed by a collaborative working group with expertise in residency development and research, the team developed a common definition of teacher residencies to guide the field in designing successful residency models that ensure aspiring teachers are well-prepared and supported through quality programs.
“The question about what determines if a particular pathway is a teacher residency has been raised time and time again given the range of residency options available and the variety of state policies around residencies,” said Karen DeMoss, Executive Director, Prepared To Teach, and co-lead of the working group. “This report offers a powerful definition of teacher residencies that serves to support the profession and schools and strengthen the educational experiences of all students.”
To begin, the report helps to norm a shared understanding of the meaning of “teacher residencies” with a summary description:
Teacher residencies are preparation pathways that are anchored in partnership and reflect a program curriculum that is collaboratively designed by local education agencies and teacher preparation programs to meet the goals of 1) ensuring aspiring teachers have affordable, high-quality opportunities and supports while they learn to teach and 2) supporting the instructional and staffing needs of local schools and districts. In their yearlong pre-service clinical practice settings, residents are not teachers of record. They work alongside accomplished mentor teachers, experiencing the breadth of roles and responsibilities that teachers engage across the course of a year as educational professionals.
Expanding on these points, the report outlines four main components of residencies, including partnerships, curriculum, resident experiences, and mentors. Additionally, the authors highlight several elements of each pillar that will maximize their effectiveness.
For example, according to the report, partnerships between preparation programs and local education agencies (LEAs) or schools/school districts should prioritize collaboration and communication; representation from both the preparation program and LEAs as well as any additional stakeholders; and resident funding that features affordable programs and living stipends or wages, among other elements to ensure success.
To further explore the components of teacher residencies under the new definition, Prepared To Teach, The Pathways Alliance, and the National Center for Teacher Residencies co-hosted a webinar titled “Sharing a Vision” in which Tara Kini, Chief of Staff and Director of State Policy, Learning Policy Institute, and Jill Pitner, Chief Growth Officer, National Center for Teacher Residencies, joined DeMoss to discuss the momentum behind teacher residencies, process for creating the definition, and the components of a residency. Sabrina Baptiste, Program Operations Director, InnovateEDU, facilitated the conversation.
“It’s been an honor to work with deeply skilled practitioners and leaders from across the nation who are dedicated to advancing quality educator preparation and creating a brighter future for all students,” added DeMoss. “The input from our team, as well as external groups and leaders including districts, preparation programs, state education departments, and national professional and advocacy groups, greatly enriched our work and we thank our colleagues for their partnership.”