Teacher residencies, in which candidates spend a full year student teaching under the guidance of a highly effective mentor teacher, provide candidates with the sheltered practice and support future teachers need to learn how to teach before they are responsible for their own classrooms. Teacher Residency Models address candidate development in the three keys to teacher quality:
- Build Pedagogical Content Knowledge: learn the most effective content practices and apply them
- Focus on Skill Building: targeted and measured throughout the preparation
- Pre-Service Practice: year-long co-teaching experience with mentor teacher
Research has found that residency pathways are some of the most effective ways to prepare new teachers and ensure readiness for the classroom. Yet, a full-year unpaid clinical experience is not accessible to most candidates in Texas and even across the country. While some partnerships have secured grants and other philanthropic sources to fund resident living stipends, this is not sustainable.
So how to address access to quality preparation?
Educator preparation programs on the Vetted Teacher Residency Program list offer high-quality teacher residency programs. The list has been established in preparation for state and federal grant opportunities that require LEAs to partner with a high-quality teacher residency program. In fact, in fall 2021, The TEA launched the TCLAS Decision 5: Teacher Residency Support grant to support over 90 districts partnering with these programs to build sustainably funded paid residencies with technical assistance for strategic staffing.
Texas Strategic Staffing (TSS) is a 2-year process in which a district and Education Preparation Program (EPP) commit to designing and implementing a paid teacher residency program that is sustainably funded by reallocating district resources to compensate teacher residents who take on additional instructional responsibilities in the district while completing a year-long teacher residency program.
District reallocates underutilized funds to provide sustainable resident stipends and meet the immediate instructional needs of schools.
- Resident receives financial compensation, promoting access to robust yearlong residency experience
- Strategic Staffing Models leverage paid residents to meet immediate instructional needs of schools
- Higher Quality Preparation for Teacher Candidates
- Improved Instructional Performance of Mentor Teachers
- Positive Impact on Student Performance
Objectives for Texas Strategic Staffing
- Address Texas students’ learning acceleration needs and other instructional priorities through implementation of high-quality teacher residencies
- Enable equitable educational access for all Texas students through high-quality teacher residency programs as a key teacher pipeline strategy.
- Enable equitable access to quality preparation to retain a diverse Texas teacher population.
- Prioritize long-term Texas teacher effectiveness through rigorous pre-service practice in year-long teacher residency programs.
- Recruit, select, train, and continuously develop high-quality mentor teachers to support residents placed in high-need areas.
- Support Texas districts to sustainably fund teacher residencies through funding reallocation in service of an enduring talent pipeline.
Residents as Substitutes
Instructional Need: Daily substitutes on campuses
This model relies on residents spending at least one day per week serving as a substitute teacher for other teachers in the school, receiving pay through dollars typically spent on substitute teachers.
Residents as Long-Term Substitutes
Instructional Need: Long term coverage for parental leave, unfilled positions, etc.
This model relies on two or more residents splitting the role of a full-time long-term substitute. An example of this model would be Resident 1 spending the mornings with their host teacher and Resident 2 covering the long-term substitute classroom. In the afternoon the two residents would switch positions and Resident 2 would be with the host teacher and Resident 1 would cover the long-term substitute classroom.
Residents as Paraprofessionals
Instructional Need: Small group or individual student support
This model relies on two or more residents splitting the role of one full-time paraprofessional or teacher’s assistant. One example of this model would be Resident 1 spending the mornings with their host teacher and Resident 2 fulfilling the duties of the paraprofessional in a different teacher’s classroom. In the afternoon, the two residents would switch positions. Another example would be creating a schedule where one or more residents fulfill the duties of a paraprofessional who supports students throughout multiple classrooms.
Residents as Tutors/Enrichment Teachers
Instructional Need: Student learning acceleration
In this model, residents spend at least four days before, during, or after school tutoring students, receiving pay through dollars typically spent on tutoring.
Residents as Release Time Support
Instructional Need: Extend lead teacher’s reach and/or fill teacher vacancies
In this model, residents provide release time during the school day so their host teacher can support the school in other ways. One example may rely on collapsing a teacher vacancy, resulting in slightly increased class sizes. Residents would provide release time to their host teacher (an exemplary lead teacher) so that they can support other classroom teachers. Another example may rely on using funds allocated for instructional coaches or intervention, utilizing the host teacher to provide coaching or small group intervention.
Vacancy: Pair Teaching
Instructional Need: Teaches more students directly
In this model a vacant teacher classroom is collapsed and students are re-distributed to the remaining classrooms for that grade level/content area resulting in slightly increased class size. With the increased class size, residents would be paired with teachers who meet the “mentor teacher selection criteria”. This reduces the student to teacher ratio allowing for more differentiated instruction and the mentor/resident team to reach more students. This model could allow the residents to work alongside their mentor all day for the entire school year. (For questions related to this model, participating districts can reach out to their technical assistance provider.)
Vacancy: Team Teaching
Instructional Need: Reach more students and fill teacher vacancies
In this model, a vacant teacher classroom is collapsed and two classrooms are combined to create one class (about 40-48 students). This larger classroom is assigned one highly effective host teacher who works with two-three resident candidates to co-teach and support the students in a team-based model of instruction. The ratio of teachers to students in this model is one teacher to 10-15 students.