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Connecticut Teacher Residency Program joins national initiative to recruit, develop and retain Black teachers for local schools
The Connecticut Teacher Residency Program (CT TRP), in partnership with the RESC Alliance, has received a $340,000 grant from the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) to expand and improve its efforts to recruit and develop Black teachers to support participating districts. The award comes through NCTR’s Black Educators Initiative, a five-year, $20-million effort to recruit and train 750 new Black teachers through NCTR’s nationwide network of teacher residency programs.
This grant will allow CT TRP to provide funding relief to partner districts and support up to 40 Black educators as it expands to four cohort locations with up to 60 Residents across Connecticut. Grants will be used for tuition, materials, and assessment support to ensure candidates meet the state certification requirements, including Praxis, Foundations of Reading, and the edTPA Portfolio assessment. Additionally, part of the costs for mentor teachers will be covered as Residents work for a full year with their mentor teacher to gain hands-on experience in the classroom.
CT TRP was one of eight residencies chosen to help launch NCTR’s Black Educators Initiative. This year, the program is expanding to the Regional Education Service Centers in Hartford (CREC), New Haven (ACES), lower Fairfield (CES), and New London (LEARN) counties.
On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, forty-five new Residents were accepted into the program.
“Thank you so much for such exciting news. I am thrilled and honored to be a member of the CREC cohort this year,” said applicant Alexa McCrae in response to her acceptance.
This program is still accepting applications in three of the four cohorts and is offered at little to no cost for Residents while providing a salary and benefits during the residency year from a partnering district.
“As a superintendent in a diverse and dynamic community, I am indebted to the Connecticut Teacher Residency Program for providing an authentic opportunity to assist us in diversifying our staff. I see this program as a real game changer in assisting my district in taking the necessary steps forward in this critical initiative” said Jody Ian Goeler, Superintendent for Hamden Public Schools, a partner district looking to support four residents.
“Now more than ever, we need to focus on recruiting and retaining Black teachers,” said Anissa Listak, NCTR’s founder and CEO. “We are so proud to be able to work with CT TRP through NCTR’s Black Educators Initiative.”
The majority of school children in the United States are students of color, yet less than 20 percent of teachers are people of color, and only 7 percent of them are Black. Research shows that students of color do better in school and consider going to college at higher rates when they are taught by teachers with similar racial and demographic backgrounds. NCTR’s Black Educators Initiative aims to improve student achievement by increasing access to Black teachers.
“I am pleased to see NCTR’s support of CT TRP. As a former teacher and a life-long educator, I have seen first-hand the impact a Black teacher can have on students in the classroom. Even more, the research shows that a diverse teaching population leads to students learning better,” said State Senator Doug McCrory. “It is incumbent upon us to not only encourage people of color to enter the teaching profession but ensure they have the mentorship and quality training opportunities available so they can take the skills developed into the classroom for the benefit of their students.” McCrory, a Democrat who represents the Senate’s 2nd District (Hartford, Bloomfield, Windsor), is the State’s Education Committee Senate chair.
This grant demonstrates CT TRP has earned confidence in its success. To reduce the cost of these programs to districts and to expand the program, CT TRP renews its requests to Governor Lamont and the CT General Assembly to solve this state problem with much-needed state dollars by annually dedicating $4.5 million to CT TRP. This state funding will ensure the program continues to be successful in recruiting and retaining a workforce of teachers that better represents the diverse population of students.
Teacher residency programs have proven effective at recruiting and developing teachers of color. In 2019-2020, NCTR’s network of partner residencies reported that 62 percent of their teachers-in-training identified as persons of color – more than twice the diversity rate of teachers nationally. CT TRP is focused on diversifying Connecticut’s teachers and assisting Governor Lamont in achieving his goals. In the first two years of the program, 100% of teachers training in CT TRP are people of color.
CT TRP’s website is www.ct-trp.org.