Home-Grown Teacher Training

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Across the country there are a handful of programs that somehow find the money to transition new teachers into the classroom the right way...that is, providing lots of hand-holding by an experienced teacher for a full year before letting a new teacher fly solo. Programs like the Chicago Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) and Boston's "Teacher Residency" (BTR) program are amazing-- not for their innovation, but because the money has been found to make them happen.

State and local officials perennially grumble over forking over taxpayer money for the Cadillac level of teacher induction that some school settings simply require, so both of these programs got off the ground through the largesse of individuals and private foundations. NCTQ Advisory Board member Mike Koldyke is single-handedly responsible for the Chicago program. The Boston program was originally funded by an initial two-year $2.2 million grant from Strategic Grant Partners, a consortium of private family foundations.

The Boston and Chicago programs are alike in many regards, giving carefully selected new teachers a full year under the tutelage of great, experienced teachers. Both programs lead to towards a master's degree and full certification. One key difference, however, is the cost of putting one teacher resident through each program. The Boston program is training teachers for much less money than the Chicago program, offering only a $10,000 stipend, not Chicago's full salary of $30,000. Boston's smaller stipend may seem off-putting, but it works... many students hoping to teach enroll in graduate school full-time without any type of salary; here, graduate school is considered a "job" in itself.

And what's most promising about the Boston program is that it may be luring in some public funding. The City of Boston is buying into the program due to its relatively minor cost--and the high demand for it. Local officials are making plans to phase in taxpayer money over the course of the next several years, eventually expanding the program to include over 300 teaching residents per year.