The University at Buffalo’s Graduate School of Education has launched its UB Teacher Residency Program in collaboration with the Buffalo Public Schools.
The new teacher preparation program was built on the medical residency model and provides a clinically intensive pathway to certification. Resident teachers serve alongside an expert mentor in a co-teaching capacity for a full school year while simultaneously engaging in university coursework to ensure that they have the required knowledge and skills to be effective teachers.
The inaugural residency kicked off with a weeklong Summer Institute in August, where participants took part in learning activities; discussion sessions with district, school, community and university stakeholders; and presentations by expert guests.
When the school year started, the residents were immersed in their classrooms co-teaching with their Buffalo Public Schools mentors. Their coursework, delivered through innovative modules, aligned with the learning trajectory of the school year.
Participating in a yearlong residency provides a deeper understanding of the community in which the residents will teach, which helps residents become more effective, culturally responsive teachers, according to Amanda Winkelsas, director of the UB Teacher Residency Program. Research suggests that teachers prepared through a residency pathway are also more likely to remain in the profession, thereby contributing to stable and positive school climates, which ultimately benefit student learning.
A key feature of the UB Teacher Residency Program is that participants receive a competitive stipend and, for residents in particular content certification areas, a tuition waiver during the schoolyear.
“Costs are a real issue for people to become teachers,” said Suzanne Rosenblith, dean of the Graduate School of Education. “The thinking is, if we can reduce the financial burden, we can attend to diversity and attract more top-quality students who wouldn’t be saddled with debt.”
A primary goal for this initial urban teaching cohort is to increase the number of historically underrepresented minorities with a desire to work in urban schools. The program also seeks to increase the number of learner-ready teachers in the city of Buffalo and reduce teacher attrition rates.
A future goal of the UB Teacher Residency Program, depending on funding, will be to offer residency experiences in a variety of Western New York school districts. Suburban, rural or other context-specific cohorts could be formed to meet local needs.
Meet the residents and learn more at the UB Teacher Residency Program website.