Close the opportunity gap by providing small group math & literacy instruction for our highest need students in order to accelerate their academic growth.

Teacher Residencies and the Nationwide Teacher Shortages

By, Meredith Trevino, Fellow Alum and Recruitment and Data Coordinator

Denver Fellow Resident Lashonda Anderson practices What to Do Directions.

Teacher Education Programs

According to data, traditional teacher education program enrollment dropped 35% between 2009 and 2014. While this decrease seems extreme, it needs to be understood in the context of the fact that for multiple years, teacher preparation programs have been graduating close to twice as many teachers as are needed (Walsh). Teachers graduating from traditional teacher education programs aren’t necessarily being hired either. According to data from 1999 to 2012, only 30% of the districts’ new hires came directly from traditional programs (Walsh). Considering this, why is it so common to hear that there is a teacher shortage?

From Traditional Teacher Prep to Residencies

At the same time, most districts in the nation have struggled and continue to do so when trying to find enough certified teachers in certain subjects and have been unable to tap into a reliable and stable source of new teachers within those areas. School districts often have many applicants for elementary teaching positions but a lack of those applying for special education, math, science or teaching English language learners. While the number of people enrolling in traditional teacher education programs has been decreasing, there have been a number of non-traditional ways for people to become teachers through teacher residencies. Becoming a classroom teacher through a residency program is a relatively new and innovative model for teacher preparation that takes the general idea of a medical residency (practical, job embedded) and applies it to education. Many of teacher residency programs are trying to address the human capital needs for hard to fill positions while also working to better prepare pre-service teachers.

The Denver Fellows Residency

The Denver Fellows program has partnered with Relay Graduate School of Education to provide a teacher residency experience. The Denver Fellows Residency is a two-year program in which people spend their first year as a Denver Fellow, working with students in small groups while enrolled in graduate school. The second year of the program involves leading a full-size classroom and completing graduate work. After successful completion of the program, participants will receive a Colorado Teacher License, a Master of Arts in Teaching and an endorsement to teach either Secondary Mathematics, Secondary English or Elementary Education. Through the program, residents are able to start teaching students right away, learn and practice skills that they can bring into the classroom, and learn from teachers who have realized impressive outcomes with students.  


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