October 12, 2015
By: Julia Gessner (Texas A&M University – Commerce)
The Dallas Teacher Residency (DTR) program has partnered with the Texas A&M University-Commerce Teacher Residency Program (TRes) to provide an avenue for teacher candidates who already have bachelor’s degrees to obtain certification and a master’s degree.
“Teacher Residency Programs are emerging across the country as one response to the need for teacher quality and as teacher shortages are increasing in the nations’ schools,” said Professor and Head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Martha Foote. “A major advantage of teacher preparation within a residency program is that the university and school district share and analyze district data to determine hiring needs as well as program outcomes for the teacher preparation program. Through partnerships with the ISDs, the university can better align preparation programs’ standards and expectations with districts’ needs and expectations for new teachers. The experience gained in the classroom with mentoring and support from the teacher of record is a key part of the success.”
Urban schools sometimes have lower teacher retention rates, which can contribute to the cycle of inadequate education for children in urban areas. According to the DTR, research has shown that teacher residencies help improve overall teacher success and retention rates. The DTR program seeks to increase the number of high-quality teachers in urban districts by training teachers to work in urban school districts where fewer resources are provided.
The A&M-Commerce inaugural group of residents began in June 2014 and included 10 teacher candidates with degrees in STEM fields. The STEM residents participated in Professional Learning Communities, day-long seminars and Action Research Projects where classroom data was used to make instructional decisions, and they completed their year-long residency in the classroom with a mentor teacher or a clinical instructor in Mesquite ISD.
“The TRes and DTR partnership provides a growing pipeline of teacher candidates who will complete their preparation and certification through innovative teacher residencies. Teacher residencies, like medical residencies, allow teachers in training the opportunity to learn in an apprenticeship model under the full-time guidance of a mentor teacher while earning a Master of Education in the Art of Teaching degree,” said Dr. Gil Naizer, professor from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. “This extended program provides a better preparation for teacher candidates who start as ‘profession ready teachers.’ Our partnership with DTR allows the university to remain a state leader in expanding an emerging form of teacher preparation – teacher residencies.”
TRes is funded by a grant from The Higher Education Coordinating Board, and with the help of A&M-Commerce and other partners including the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, City Year, Fossil Foundation, NBC Universal, Executives in Action and Wells Fargo, the program is set to grow significantly.