Currently, the United States stands at an important turning point for both policy and practice in the area of teacher education. There were just a handful of teacher residencies around the United States when NCTR began its work. There are now over 100 programs around the country. As the teacher residency movement grows, NCTR is steadfast in its commitment to building and strengthening high-quality teacher residency programs and ensuring that these pathways remain committed to dismantling systemic inequalities in our public school systems.
In 2021, NCTR revised its standards. Now called the Levers for Equitable Teacher Residencies, NCTR’s consulting for emerging and existing teacher residency programs is based on the levers and designed to ensure successful implementation of programs using the interconnected eight levers below.
Partnering & Designing for Equity
To understand and meet the needs of the school district and community, residency leadership must work in collaborative partnership with community members and organizational partners that represent the diversity of the community they serve.
Training Site Recruitment, Selection, & Support
An effective residency year experience requires that teacher residents have access to extensive opportunities to learn and practice at a training site where the school leadership understands and is committed to the vision and mission of the teacher residency program.
Mentor Recruitment, Selection, & Support
Mentor teachers serve critical roles in supporting and preparing teacher residents. To identify, recruit, and select diverse cohorts of impactful mentor teachers who successfully support and prepare teacher residents, programs set a programmatic vision, clearly articulate expectations of the mentor teacher role, and commit to providing ongoing mentor teacher support.
Resident Recruitment & Selection
The ongoing task of recruiting and selecting high-quality teacher resident applicants who can be successful in underserved schools and hard-to-staff subject areas requires articulating a clear value proposition that addresses a range of variables including financial barriers. Translating your value proposition to teacher resident applicants from diverse backgrounds effectively requires comprehensive, culturally responsive, innovative, and data-driven recruitment and selection strategies that are aligned to the mission, vision, and programmatic needs.
Teacher residency leadership is characterized by leaders who are able to execute on a strategic vision, maintain reflective dispositions, build strong relationships with and influence a diverse group of constituents, and advocate for the teacher residency model as a lever for equity.
Residency Year Experience
The clinical experience centers on a yearlong, culturally sustaining experience aligned to the organization’s mission and vision. Equitable teacher residency programs include a yearlong clinical experience in which teacher residents’ learning is designed around their effective implementation of High-Priority Resident Practices that facilitate student achievement. The clinical experience also includes a carefully orchestrated gradual release of teaching responsibilities where, by the end of the clinical experience, teacher residents are prepared and confident to be teachers of record.
Teacher residency programs must build a model that allows for long-term sustainability in service to the mission and vision. While short-term funding can play an important role in starting a teacher residency program, effective teacher residencies create the conditions to plan for and implement a long-term financial sustainability strategy with a concrete, multi-year roadmap.
Teacher residency graduates benefit from ongoing group and individualized support and professional development, which may include race-based affinity groups, continued instructional coaching, and other strategies to be attentive to their unique needs as new teachers of record. Teacher residencies also use post-residency data to enhance recruitment and the residency year experience, so that, ultimately, induction supports lead to enhanced graduate effectiveness and retention.