BUFFALO, NY – The United States Department of Education has recognized the University at Buffalo Teacher Residency Program, which recruits and trains community members to become teachers, as a blueprint for states, school districts and universities to follow to address the national teacher shortage.
The program, a partnership between the UB Graduate School of Education and the Buffalo Public Schools, was one of eight partnerships between school districts and universities highlighted for their efforts in establishing and scaling programs that build or strengthen pathways toward creating a more diverse teacher workforce.
In a fact sheet released last week, US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona also called on state policymakers and school leaders to invest in more teacher residency programs and to establish teaching as a registered apprenticeship.
Many school districts have faced significant challenges in attracting and retaining teachers, which has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These shortages have a direct impact on educational opportunity for students, and research shows that educator shortages disproportionately impact students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities and students from rural communities, according to the fact sheet.
“To support the President’s call, today Secretary Cardona is calling on state policymakers, higher education leaders, and school districts to use pandemic relief and recovery funds to increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the profession as early as possible. He is also calling on teacher preparation programs and school districts to work together in innovative ways to address the teacher shortage, ”said a statement from the US Department of Education fact sheet.
“Preparing, supporting and retaining excellent teachers who reflect the racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity of the communities they serve requires a collaborative approach and investment, as Secretary Cardona has highlighted,” says Amanda Winkelsas, PhD, director of the UB Teacher Residency Program and clinical assistant professor of learning and instruction in the UB Graduate School of Education.
“When universities, school districts and community stakeholders work together to recruit, prepare and support teachers, we can make the necessary progress toward achieving more equitable, inclusive and just learning experiences for students.”
Launched in 2019, the UB Teacher Residency Program enables individuals interested in a career in education to earn New York State initial teacher certification through a paid residency. The one-year program combines coursework with experience educating alongside a mentor teacher for an entire school year in Buffalo Public Schools.
The program works toward building more equity in the quality of school experiences for historically underserved communities in Buffalo by hiring and retaining racially, ethnically and linguistically diverse teachers.
By shifting the balance of teacher education from university classroom-based learning to a community-based residency model grounded in practical experience, the program also bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world experience in K-12 classrooms.
To help educational leaders, policymakers and researchers emulate the program, a team of researchers and educators at UB and Buffalo Public Schools published, “A Case for Change in Teacher Preparation: Developing Community-Based Residency Programs.” The book serves as a blueprint for launching teacher residency programs at other universities and school districts.
To learn more about the UB Teacher Residency Program, visit the UB Graduate School of Education website.