How Teacher Residencies are Strategizing the Usage of ESSER Funds

Author: Cortney Rowland, NCTR Director of State and Federal Policy, Author: Kevin Levay, NCTR AD of Research and Evaluation
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Recently, the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) surveyed Network partners and reviewed publicly available sources to better understand the extent to which states where programs in the NCTR Network are located are making use of ARP/Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER III) and/or Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds to support teacher residency programs. Established by the U.S. Congress through the Education Stabilization Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ESSER and GEER funds have offered SEAs and LEAs the opportunity and more resources to strengthen and improve the educational system. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has called on states, districts, and institutions of higher education to prioritize ARP funds for addressing teacher shortages, including to support teacher residency programs. 

Of the roughly 26 states where Network partners are located, NCTR found that at least 13 or 50 percent of them are using GEER funds for teacher recruitment and preparation, or addressing teacher shortages, including Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. Two of these states, Colorado and Georgia, are using GEER funds for teacher residency programs, specifically. Funds are being used by LEAs and IHEs for a myriad of activities, including subsidizing tuition costs for students enrolled in educator preparation programs, developing or enhancing communication and outreach to potential educators, creating or strengthening new or existing partnerships, creating or adapting curriculum and instructional resources for teacher candidates, and supporting the maintenance or improvement of educator preparation programs’ operations.

In addition, nine or 35 percent of the 26 states where NCTR Network partners are located are using some of the state portion of their ESSER funds toward teacher residency programs or components of teacher residency programs (e.g., K12-higher education partnerships, clinical experiences, mentoring), including Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

Before the period of performance for ARP/ESSER funds is up (September 30, 2024), other states may use some of their ARP/ESSER funds toward teacher residency programs or program components. Indeed, several states have not yet spent down the full portion of their 10% state allocation of ARP/ESSER funds. Additionally, though some state plans are less clear about how they are using ESSER funds, some have named teacher residency programs or components of teacher residency programs as one potential use of funds in their plans.

See related resources:

Teacher Residencies can Transform the National Teaching Workforce – AASPA, August 9, 2022

NCTR Collaborates with MDE to Diversity and Expand the Teacher Pipeline in Mississippi – NCTR, June 7, 2022

The Teacher Residency Return on Investment: A Pathway that Prepares Effective and Diverse Teachers who Stay – NCTR