Skip to main content

New county-wide teacher residency program paves the way for sustainable careers in education

New county-wide teacher residency program paves the way for sustainable careers in education.
$3.6 million will support the training of 120 teacher residents in Monroe County schools

A $3.6 million grant from the New York State Department of Labor’s Empire State Teacher Residency Program launches a new county-wide collaboration tailored to strengthening teaching in Monroe County schools. The Monroe Regional Teacher Residency Consortium will support the training of 120 aspiring PK-12 teachers who enroll in 15-month master’s degree and initial teacher certification programs at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education and Nazareth University’s School of Education over the next two years. Through a combination of education and residency experiences, these teacher candidates will work toward becoming well-prepared, licensed local educators. 

Initiated by a new partnership with Monroe 2-Orleans BOCESMonroe One BOCES, and select districts, the Monroe Regional Teacher Residency Consortium is a paid teacher residency program designed to prepare skilled teachers in high-need certification areas for careers in Rochester-area schools while giving them hands-on classroom teaching experience, mentorship, and employment. 

“We are excited to be a part of the Empire State Teacher Residency Program,” says Ty Zinkiewich, superintendent of Spencerport Central School District, one of the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES districts participating in the teacher residency program. “Our district has always embraced innovation, and forward-thinking programs like this are welcome as we navigate the unique challenges of teacher recruitment and retention.”

Residents are compensated for their clinical work, receiving a $15,000 stipend toward graduate school tuition and a minimum salary of $20,000 for living expenses throughout the program. Modeled after medical residencies, this program involves a year-long, co-teaching partnership that prepares residents to teach effectively. Residents work alongside experienced teacher mentors, strengthening their practices and connections to the school communities in which they are learning to teach. Concurrently, residents complete a master’s degree program with initial New York State teaching certification in 15 months.

Anticipating a demand for 180,000 new teachers in the next decade, New York State officials envision this grant as a crucial factor in addressing the impending teacher shortage. The funding is poised to contribute to the development of committed and skilled educators, guaranteeing students access to high-quality instruction delivered by well-prepared teachers.

The program aims to fill workforce gaps already existing in certain areas of the education system. 

“Presently, almost every certification area is identified as high-need in New York State,” says Kevin Meuwissen, chair of teaching and curriculum and director of teacher residency programming at the Warner School. “This funding enables us to work with school districts to address shortages by strengthening professional and financial supports for those who aim to serve others by becoming great teachers. Research shows us that well-prepared resident teachers better understand the conditions and demands of the profession, establish stronger connections to the students and communities they serve, and become more effective, more persistent teachers over time than those with limited clinical experiences.” 

Shortage areas in New York State schools include teaching students with disabilities, mathematics, science, English language arts, social studies, world languages, and teaching English to speakers of other languages. Upon successfully completing the program, residents will have opportunities to fill vacancies in their district or other participating districts in the county consortium.

“Nazareth’s School of Education has always had robust, clinically-rich teacher education programs, but this partnership allows us to provide a strong model of mentorship and support for teacher candidates,” says Shanna Jamanis, associate dean of Nazareth’s School of Education. “In collaboration with our district partners, we are able to match candidates to specific shortage areas in districts while working closely with mentors, candidates, and college faculty to develop changemaking educators who are creative, resilient, and passionate about supporting students and their families.”

Key goals of the residency partnership are to reduce financial barriers to entry and facilitate employment after program completion. A similar partnership among the Warner School, Nazareth University, and the Rochester City School District brought the first-of-its-kind urban teacher residency – the ongoing ROC Urban Teaching Fellows program – to Rochester in 2022. 

Participating in the Monroe Regional Teacher Residency Consortium is based on a competitive application process. Aspiring teachers must apply to either the Warner School’s or Nazareth’s graduate teacher preparation program first and then to a complementary selection process for the residency program. 

Preparations and recruitment activities for the Monroe Regional Teacher Residency Consortium are currently in progress, featuring information sessions scheduled throughout November. Individuals aspiring to pursue a teaching career can attend an upcoming virtual information session on Tuesday, November 14, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. or Wednesday, November 15, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

Learn more about the Monroe Regional Teacher Residency Consortium.