The BEI Difference: NCTR Initiative Proven to Recruit and Retain Black Educators


July 12, 2022 — Data from the first two years of the National Center for Teacher Residencies’ (NCTR) Black Educators Initiative (BEI), supported by a five-year grant from Ballmer Group, has shown statistically significant results in recruiting and retaining Black educators in a recent report conducted by the Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) at Columbia University. The report also identified promising practices for diversifying the national teacher workforce.

Launched in 2019, BEI is designed to recruit, prepare, and retain 750 new Black teachers through NCTR’s national Network of teacher residency programs. Funding from BEI allows NCTR to invest in teacher residency programs to recruit from communities of color that predominantly serve in Title I schools; help reduce barriers for aspiring Black educators to enter and remain in the profession through scholarships, stipends, emergency funds and licensure testing support; provide teacher residents with coaching from an expert mentor teacher; and improve retention through affinity groups to empower Black educators to transform their schools and districts.

The CPRL-developed report, titled “Recruitment and Retention of Black Educators: Promising Strategies at Eight U.S. Teacher Residencies,” examines data from NCTR’s BEI-supported teacher residency programs, such as enrollment and demographics, as well as data from 16 focus groups of Black teacher residents receiving direct support from NCTR’s BEI and conducted 23 interviews with program staff and stakeholders at BEI programs to identify leading indicators of effectiveness.

The eight teacher residency programs that took part in the evaluation are located in the West, Midwest, Southeast and Northeast portions of the United States.

The evaluation and report, which were funded by the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, reveals that “BEI teacher residency programs are consistently successful at attracting both larger numbers and proportions of Black teacher residents,” and three strategies were identified in the increase of recruitment of Black candidates:

  • Partnering with organizations, such as local community schools and HBCUs, with high-potential, diverse membership;
  • Emphasizing the financial benefits, such as stipends; and
  • Using high-touch, culturally responsive recruitment practices.

CPRL also concluded that for every $10,000 increase in resident stipends, programs achieved a 4 percentage point increase in the share of Black residents, which is a large effect. In addition, the financial incentives, such as emergency funds, were found to retain Black residents in the program, as these funds helped residents pay for rent, childcare, or car repairs that BEI-supported program administrators reported were crucial to preventing Black candidates from quitting. Thus, the investment in Black teacher residents is paying off.

Most significantly, CPRL reports that BEI has helped residencies to improve graduation and hiring rates. BEI has increased the number of Black graduates per residency to an average of about 21 Black teachers per program. As far as hiring rates, about 14 additional BEI graduates, on average, were hired in Title I schools and about 24 additional graduates were hired in partner districts after BEI was implemented.

“We are proud to see the impact that BEI is making for our residency partners to recruit and retain effective Black educators for their schools and communities, and we appreciate the thorough evaluation and study from CPRL that validates that impact,” said Director of BEI Keilani Goggins. “This report will help establish and inform new strategies that will further guide our work to diversify the teaching workforce and dismantle barriers into the profession for Black teacher residents.”

Both a summary of the report and the full CPRL-developed report (“Recruitment and Retention of Black Educators”) are available online.