Dallas Teacher Residency (DTR) received a record number of applications for its Teacher Residency program next year – an increase of nearly 20 percent from a year ago. This marks the fourth consecutive year that DTR has experienced an increase in the number of applications received for its teacher residency program.
Almost 57 percent of all applicants were people of color – an increase of nearly 10 percent over last year and a reflection of the work Dallas Teacher Residency is doing to pursue and attract individuals of all backgrounds and socioeconomic situations, said Rob DeHaas, Dallas Teacher Residency’s Co-Founder and CEO.
“In each of our first three years of operation, individuals of color have made up at least 50 percent of each of our teacher resident cohorts,” DeHaas said. “We recognize the importance of recruiting a diverse cohort of aspiring teachers that resemble the demographic makeup of students we serve in our partnering district(s) – and as a result, have established aggressive organizational goals and strategies around diversity to ensure we are meeting these targets.
DTR attributes much of their recruitment success to the strong partnerships they have established with both local and national non-profit organizations. They also credit their strong partnership with their higher education partner, Texas A&M University – Commerce (TAMUC), which has played a large role in helping promote the program to their undergraduate student population and larger alumni network.
“Strong partnerships with AmeriCorps programs, National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR), and A&M – Commerce have not only provided us with access to a diverse candidate pool from all across the country,” DeHaas said. “These organizations have also served as collaborators and as thought partners in our collective effort to attract and select top level talent to serve K-12 students.”
Given that teacher preparation programs nationally have witnessed declining enrollment, falling 35 percent in the past 5 years according to a recent study by the Learning Policy Institute, the upward trend in applicants to DTR is promising according to DeHaas.
“In our work, we are truly committed to rethinking the way in which we approach teacher recruitment and selection and ultimately, teacher preparation as a whole, DeHaas said. “We believe high quality education at all levels needs to be accessible. Therefore, we work diligently with our partners and routinely discuss how can we eliminate barriers into the teaching profession that might restrict our ability to attract top level talent to our program – these are the types of critical questions that we are constantly asking ourselves.”
Admission decisions have been sent on a rolling basis to accepted applicants since October. DTR accepted approximately 19 percent of applicants for the upcoming year and anticipates their fourth cohort will consist of nearly 35 resident teachers , its largest class to-date. In total, DTR will work directly with and support the development of over 125 public school teachers during the upcoming 2017-2018 academic school year.