National teacher preparation organization selects year-long teacher residency program as 1 of 4 recipients of prestigious grant
NEW CASTLE, Del., June 22, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For more than a century, student teaching has been a vital, though brief, step in training students to become teachers. Wilmington University is revolutionizing that tradition, and its efforts have earned the College of Education a half-million dollar grant from a national education think tank.
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The National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR), a Chicago-based, not-for-profit organization, has selected the Wilmington University College of Education's innovative year-long teacher residency initiative as one of its 2017 SEED Grant recipients.
The SEED (Supporting Effective Educator Development) Grant recognizes programs that are transforming teacher preparation with up to $500,000 of support for student teachers and their mentors. It also invites recipients to participate in the NCTR's New Site Development Program, which consists of two years of consulting designed to build, evaluate and sustain training practices.
"We will support Wilmington University as it focuses on developing new strategies to recruit more teachers of color and bilingual teachers, prepare teachers for critical needs areas, and increase teacher retention within partner school districts," NCTR said in a statement.
"We're pleased to be one of only four teacher preparation programs in the nation to receive this grant," said Dr. John Gray, Dean of the College of Education. "We were awarded the maximum amount, which further allows us to change the culture of student teaching at this university. Recognition like this helps us to improve the way teachers are trained."
The university’s year-long teacher residency program, developed in conjunction with several Delaware school districts, particularly benefits “high needs” schools and has grown in participation since its 2014 launch. While traditional student teaching programs span a semester (or, at some colleges, as little as 10 weeks), those pursuing education degrees at Wilmington University are able to work side-by-side with mentor teachers for an entire school year.
This opportunity, the only such program in the state and one of only a handful in the U.S., can make a world of difference in the experience, said Gray.
"Our year-long interns work every single day and assume all the responsibilities that the teachers do from before the first day of school until the last teacher work day of the school year," he said. "They learn what it's like to start a school year, finish a school year, and everything in between. They get to experience an entire school year."
They are also treated as professionals. "They're co-teachers," he added. "Children, parents, and faculty recognize them not as students, but as real teachers."
The year-long teacher residency program is a win-win, said Gray. It allows school districts to increase staff at no cost and its graduates have so far enjoyed a 100% hire rate. But it can prove to be an expensive opportunity.
"While we have provided a small stipend to our year-long interns in the past, and they may occasionally serve as paid substitute teachers in their respective schools, this grant will enable us to provide them more financial support during their residency," said Gray.
Wilmington University's College of Education was chosen from 20 applicants for the NCTR's 2017 SEED Grants, a program funded by $11.7 million the organization received from the U.S. Department of Education in October 2015 to support great teaching and leadership.
Other recipients of this year's SEED Grants include the Albuquerque Public Schools' and the University of New Mexico College of Education's Teacher Residency Partnership, the Apple Tree Fellows Program in Washington, D.C., and the New Visions for Public Schools in New York, N.Y.
About Wilmington University
Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit institution committed to providing flexible, career-oriented, traditional and online associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Ranked as the second fastest growing nonprofit doctoral institution in America 2004 – 2014 by The Almanac of The Chronicle of Higher Education, affordable tuition, academic excellence and individualized attention make the difference. For more information, contact Wilmington University at 302-356-INFO (4636), via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website: www.wilmu.edu.
The National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) is a not-for-profit organization focused on improving student achievement through the preparation of excellent new teachers for high needs school districts. Based in Chicago, NCTR’s two-fold mission is to build and support high performing teacher residency programs and to impact and inform the transformation of teacher preparation writ large through the dissemination of research and best practices. NCTR was formerly Urban Teacher Residency United.