$8.29 Million Awarded to New Visions to Expand its Urban Teacher Residency

On September 25, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced an award of $8.29 million to New Visions for Public Schools, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and Hunter College School of Education, to support the Urban Teacher Residency program. New Visions is one of 24 nonprofit organizations or universities nationwide that received a total of more than $35 million in Teacher Quality Partnership grants.

The funding will allow New Visions and its partners to recruit, train and place 147 new teachers into high-need New York City schools over the next five years. Subject areas include mathematics, science, English language arts, special education and TESOL.  As an 18-month clinical residency, the program pairs novice teachers (or “residents”) with experienced mentor teachers in host school classrooms to prepare the residents to become full-time teachers of record.  The residents take graduate coursework leading to a master’s degree in adolescent education at Hunter College, which upon completion, qualifies students for initial certification as grade 7-12 teachers in New York State.

The new grant follows a previous Teacher Quality Partnership grant that supported New Visions’ and its partners’ efforts to launch a teacher residency program in New York City. Since 2009, the partners have prepared approximately 140 teachers in hard-to-staff subject areas such as special education, mathematics and science in high-need schools.  In recognition of the quality of these residency programs, the Hunter College School of Education recently received the Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education award by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

“The Urban Teacher Residency is a shining example of what the next-generation of teacher preparation will look like,” said Robert Hughes, President of New Visions. “Rooted in the principles of student-centered learning, professionalism, and teacher-led inquiry, the program has been transformative not only for the teachers themselves, but also for participating schools. We’re extremely grateful for this ongoing recognition and support from US ED.”

“From its founding, Hunter College has been committed to preparing excellent teachers for our public schools,” said Jennifer Raab, President of Hunter College. “This major grant will enable us to deepen that commitment, and to graduate teachers who will transform the learning outcomes of high-school students in New York City.” 

“Partnering with New Visions and the city’s public schools in such a deep way on the Urban Teacher Residency builds on Hunter’s expertise in clinically-rich teacher preparation, and enables us to continually refine our practices in the context of thorough evaluations and rich data from this program,” said David M. Steiner, Klara and Larry Silverstein Dean of the School of Education at Hunter College. “We look forward to advancing this continuing partnership to ever higher levels of effectiveness to serve the students of New York City.”

The new program’s design is informed by the New York City Department of Education’s Learning Partners Program, an initiative launched by Chancellor Carmen Fariña in 2014 to facilitate cross-school learning and sharing of best practices. Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, New Visions and its partners will identify schools to function as “Professional Practice Centers” (or PPCs). The PPCs will be selected from schools that have demonstrated an ability to effectively train teachers using a residency model. Each PPC will be paired with two partner schools that are new to residency-based teacher preparation. Through inter-visitations and cross-school collaborations, partner schools will increase their capacity to support the residency model. New Visions and its partners aim to identify and create up to ten Professional Practice Centers over the course of the five-year grant.

“Every novice teacher can benefit from the guidance and support of a trusted mentor.  The Urban Teacher Residency program recognizes this important aspect of teacher preparation, and makes it central to new teachers’ development,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “I’m thrilled that New York City’s public schools are participating in this innovative program.”

“From my experience as a principal of an Urban Teacher Residency host school, teachers who go through the program are well positioned to be successful in the classroom from day one,” said Deputy Chancellor Phil Weinberg.  “This early success means they are much more likely to remain teachers and to develop into effective educators, a win for both their students and their schools.”

Results from an independent evaluation demonstrate that the Urban Teacher Residency program is having strong, positive effects not only on teacher retention, but also on student outcomes. Nearly 90 percent of graduates from the first cohort (SY 2009-2010) are still teaching four years later. In addition, students taught by residents of the program outperform students of other early-career teachers on key New York State Regents exams and course grades.

Residents receive stipends while working full-time at their host school, as well as tuition assistance, in exchange for agreeing to work as a teacher in a high-need school for at least three years upon graduating from the program.

Candidates who would like to apply to the UTR program for the 2015-2016 school year are encouraged to contact Nicole Kotch (212-645-5110; nkotch@newvisions.org), regarding upcoming information sessions and dates.

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