November 7, 2023 — NCTR’s Network team officially launched this year’s site visit season on October 10 in Minneapolis! Hosted by the University of St. Thomas, the visit highlighted learnings from their three teacher residencies, which include Saint Paul Public Schools Urban Residency (SUTR), Minneapolis St. Thomas Residency (MSTR), and Charter School Residency Program (CSRP). Acting as a lens for collaborative analysis of practices for the programs, three levers of focus—Residency Recruitment and Selection, Residency Year Experience, and Graduate Support—were braided together, resulting in opportunities for participants to apply promising-practices to their own programs.
Another highlight of the visit was its focus on community building, which guided the experience for participants in an intentional way, according to Tyiesha Hoskins, associate director of programs at NCTR. “Our approach to community building revolved around fostering a space that promotes vulnerability to openly share dilemmas, nurturing ideas, facilitating learning, and deepening understanding of the dilemmas that teacher residency leaders face. The site visit allowed participants to refine their lens, learn from the host site, and begin designing the next steps of their work.”
Shelley Neilsen Gatti, Ph.D., associate professor of special education and MSTR supervisor, agreed. “The best thing about site visits is the community building. Our own residency community strengthened as a result of the site visit and we gained valuable new ideas and friends as a result of the quality time together on the site visit. We are hoping to reconnect at Symposium this spring or at other virtual NCTR events.”
Adriana Cervantes-González, Ed.D., program manager at Teacher Residency for Rural Education Project, attended the Minnesota event that allowed her to reflect on her why. “The work we each do in our respective communities to support our teacher residents and teachers of color may at times feel like it is in isolation; it is vulnerable work,” she said. “The site visit to Minneapolis, Minnesota’s exemplar residency programs was a powerful learning and bonding experience. I wanted to visit the George Floyd Memorial site before leaving the city to pay my respects and have a moment of silence and reflection. It was a heavy space on the heart, and it was humbling to be reminded that in this work, I am never alone. On the last day, the three of us went to the memorial site together. This culminated for me that although we have the individual work we each carry out, we have a strong network at NCTR of genuine caring people that we can turn to with anything we may need to work through. I am grateful for this experience and for my sisters-in-spirit, Tyiesha and Brittany, for the opportunity to share such a vulnerable space with me. We are forever bonded as a result of this experience.”
Site Visit season and community building continues with Dallas College from November 8-10 and Arizona Teacher Residency in Phoenix from November 28-30.
Read more about the site visit on the University of St. Thomas website.