Urban Teacher Residencies – Wave of the Future?

There’s some nice synergy going on between the Teacher Leaders Network and the Center for Teaching Quality around Urban Teacher Residencies. CTQ president Barnett Berry and senior researcher Diana Montgomery are co-authors on two important new papers about what Berry calls “the third way” to prepare and support cohorts of high-quality, diverse teachers committed to long-term careers in high-needs schools. CTQ describes it this way:

In UTRs, aspiring teachers — known as Residents — are selected according to rigorous criteria aligned with district needs. Their master’s level course work is tightly integrated with an intensive, full-year classroom residency alongside a trained, experienced mentor. In their second year, they become a teacher with their own classroom while continuing to receive intensive mentoring. UTRs group candidates in cohorts to cultivate professional learning community and foster collaboration.

The report Creating and Sustaining Urban Teacher Residenciesexamines two UTR programs, the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) in Chicago and the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR). The report is co-authored by The Aspen Institute and explores “the design and financing of UTRs, the evidence of their impact, and the conditions relevant to their success and sustainability.”

TLN Forum member Carrie Kamm is an elementary teacher and resident coach in Chicago’s AUSL program, and a member of our TeacherSolutions 2030 team writing a book about the future of teaching. Carrie described her UTR responsibilities ina recent story in NSBA’s School Board News

In another recent paper, Urban Teacher Residency Models and Institutes of Higher Education, Berry, Montgomery and Jon Snyder, dean of NYC’s Bank Street College, consider   the potential of urban teacher residencies to transform teacher education. Written for NCATE, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, the 33-page paper includes an essay by TLN Forum member and blogger Ariel Sacks, a fifth year English teacher in Brooklyn, NY, who recounts her own urban residency experience in Bank Street’s Partnership for Quality (P4Q) program. Ariel includes snapshots from her classroom and early teaching practice in her description of how the specialized training and continuing support provided by Bank Street gave her the skills and resiliency she needed to persist.

An article in the Summer 2008 issue of Voices in Urban Education summarizes the findings and reflections found in both these UTR papers, with this teaser: “Efforts to prepare teachers through ‘residencies,’ modeled after medical education, offer promise as a way districts can develop a teaching corps that meets their needs.” Also see Berry’s commentaries about Urban Teacher Residencies in a series of recent posts in his blog Advancing the Teaching Profession.

And while we’re on a roll here, you’ll enjoy reading Ariel Sacks’ blog account of her recent visit to the Ford Foundation, where she helped scholars make sense  of the issue of teacher retention in urban hard to staff schools.