As understanding of, awareness about, and experience with GSE’s Teacher Residency Program has grown, so has interest in and demand for it—and subsequently, its impact. The program and its approach to teacher training is now in its third year in partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools.
The residency model improves upon the traditional practice of placing graduate students in schools for short-term classroom experiences. Distinctive features include a year-long experience, with a summer semester, in a single school, working with a mentor teacher. Residents earn a master’s degree, a living stipend and a three-year job commitment with Buffalo Public Schools.
Working in urban schools, the residents learn a responsive teaching style that considers differences in race, ethnicity and socio-economic background. They finish their studies with the understanding, confidence and resilience to respond, flex and adapt to a range of classroom dynamics. Residents are able to apply what they’re learning in real time. Program faculty and staff stay connected with resident alumni offering additional support during their first three years of teaching.
The 2021 cohort of 23 residents working in eight Buffalo Public Schools is nearly double the number of residents in each of the two previous years.
Leaders in the Buffalo school district say they appreciate the curriculum’s tailored approach with its emphasis on the specific needs of city schools. Mentor teachers and school principals welcome the year-round help from resident co-teachers who can offer new insights into classroom practice.
As the following stories attest, the Teacher Residency Program is having an impact. Informed by teacher training of the past, it is charting a new trajectory for teacher preparation of the future.
Since the program’s inception, Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash has been its champion.
Addressing the incoming class of 23 residents this summer, he emphasized the transformative power of the diversity work and mentor-teacher relationships.
Cash said GSE’s approach, which offers the kind of in-school training that educators often do not get until after graduation, could be a national model. It may show people, beyond Western New York, a diverse and effective template for changing teacher education.
“In the years since the program was established, I’ve been able to visit schools, our Buffalo Public Schools, to see these teacher residents who come from a wide array of backgrounds, ethnic, cultural, racial and gender backgrounds, and they are doing delightful work in our schools,” he noted.
“I knew this urban Teacher Residency Program would be a difference maker for us.”
— Kriner Cash, Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent