Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

California State University is accepting applications from students enrolled in teacher preparation programs who want to spend a year in a residency program and receive a $10,000 scholarship in exchange for promising to teach in a high-needs school for two years.

Three hundred students will be selected for the CSU Residency Year Service Scholarship Program next school year. The students will be enrolled in existing residency programs at 13 of the CSU’s 23 campuses that were selected after a rigorous application process, said Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, CSU assistant vice chancellor of Educator Preparation and Public School Programs. As part of that process, campus residency programs had to have existing partnerships with at least one “high-needs” school district, defined as having a high number of low-income families, a large number of secondary school teachers not teaching in their area of expertise or high teacher turnover.

“That $10,000 makes a huge difference for our students,” Grenot-Scheyer said. “This funding will allow them to work one or two fewer part-time jobs.”

Teacher residency programs are loosely based on the model of medical residency programs. Teachers in training work for a full school year with an experienced mentor who gives them regular feedback.

Students selected for the scholarship will work in elementary and secondary school classrooms alongside mentor teachers, while completing teacher preparation courses at a university campus.

“Ideally, the candidate would do their residency in a school and get hired in the school,” Grenot-Scheyer said.

The scholarship was funded by a $3.1 million grant from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

“Teaching is hard, emotionally hard,” said Macy Parker, senior program officer for the foundation. “All teachers deserve to be really well-prepared for the emotional and intellectual challenge that comes with the job.”

The donation is likely to be one of the last for the foundation as it plans to close next year. Parker said foundation staff have been in contact with other potential funders for the scholarship program. She is hopeful the residency program will be able to continue after the foundation closes.

School district leaders say that teacher candidates from residency programs are better prepared and better indoctrinated in the district’s culture and practices, Grenot-Scheyer said.

“Research suggests that well-designed and well-implemented teacher residency models can create long-term benefits for districts, for schools and ultimately and most importantly, for the students they serve,” according to “The Teacher Residency: An Innovative Model for Preparing Teachers,” a study by the Learning Policy Institute, a research and policy organization based in Palo Alto. Residency programs allow districts to recruit teachers in subject areas and locations with teacher shortages, connect new teachers to mentors, retain teachers and recruit a more diverse teacher workforce, according to the report.

Residents work with their mentor teachers a few days each week for a full school year.

To be eligible for the scholarship, candidates must be interested in teaching in urban or high-needs schools, teaching English learners, special education classes or earning a bilingual credential. Candidates also must have a good academic record, financial need and have performed community service.

Although students must agree to work two years in a high-needs school after the residency, no refund will be sought if the teacher fails to hold up his or her end of the bargain, Parker said.

“We will be out of business, so we didn’t feel that was a fair burden to put on a grantee,” Parker said. The foundation is going to trust that the residents will follow through, she said.

Students can obtain scholarship applications at the financial aid office or College of Education on their campus. They will be accepted until Aug. 30. Applicants will be notified by Nov. 18 as to whether they have received a scholarship.

EdSource receives support from a dozen philanthropic foundations, including the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Editorial decision-making and content remain under the sole control of EdSource.

 

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