Denver Teacher Residency program awarded $8.2 million grant
Denver Public Schools and the University of Denver (DU) Morgridge College of Education announced today that the Denver Teacher Residency program has received an $8.2 million grant from the US Department of Education.
Through the partnership with DU and a grant from Janus, DTR was launched this school year as the nation's first district-based residency program. The grant will be used to bring talented teachers to Denver and to train them to serve in areas of critical need, with support and mentoring from experienced teachers and full tuition reimbursement for the master's degree they earn at DU. DTR is one of 12 programs awarded part of the roughly $100 million, five-year Teacher Quality Partnership grant aimed at raising student achievement by improving instruction.
The teacher residency program is modeled on medical residency programs of hands-on learning. In the residency program, a resident teacher spends one year working alongside a veteran teacher in the classroom while they earn their education degree. Its innovative, practical teacher preparation program is designed to cultivate and support exceptional teachers in high-needs schools within DPS, with a specific focus on special education and bilingual instruction.
"Nothing is more important to accelerating our classroom gains than continuing to develop great teachers for our schools and our students," DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg said. "The residency program offers a wonderful opportunity to attract talented teachers to the District and allow them the opportunity to work hands-on, side by side, learning from expert veteran teachers for their whole first year. This grant allows us to expand the teacher residency program and attract and train talented teachers in our areas of highest need."
DTR is a five-year residency program that includes a year-long classroom residency with a lead teacher, a DU master's degree in curriculum and instruction, and a four-year classroom teaching commitment. DTR has a sharp focus on recruiting a diverse corps of residents and developing them to be exemplary teachers in city schools.
"There is no harder job than teaching in a school district with children living in poverty, but there is also not a more important job," Senator Michael Bennet said. "Nothing makes a greater difference to student learning than great teaching, and programs like the Denver Teachers Residency Program ensure that new teachers have the skills they need to prepare our kids for the new economy. The best ideas come from the bottom up, not the top down, and as we work to overhaul our approach to public education in this country, Washington would be well served to look to Colorado as a model for innovation and transformational reform."
Gregory Anderson, Ph.D., Dean of DU's Morgridge College of Education, said the grant substantiates the residency model.
"We are very proud of our partnership with DPS and the accomplishments of the DTR Program. The Morgridge College of Education is dedicated to further validating residency-based teacher education programs as well as scaling up the model to have greater impact locally, regionally and nationally."
Pending Board of Education approval, the $8,204,269 grant funded by the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act will enable DTR to expand the work initiated through the Janus grant and deepen the district's work to support the Denver Plan. DTR directly supports the district's wider investment in the recruitment, development, and retention of high quality teachers. The Teacher Quality Partnership grant received by the Denver Teacher Residency, in partnership with the University of Denver, is dually funded by Federal and non-governmental sources, with 50% supported by Federal sources and 50% from non-governmental sources.
The grant will allow the DTR to continue to develop and expand its preparation content areas. Currently, residents are being prepared for Colorado state endorsement in Linguistically Diverse Education (LDE). Next year, coursework will be expanded to include a dual endorsement in LDE and Special Education.
Starting with a cohort of 25 residents apprenticing in one of five DPS elementary schools -- Archuleta, Gust, Harrington, McMeen and Montclair -- DTR draws on DU's experience in teacher preparation and educational leadership in the urban context. Under terms of the grant, at full-capacity DTR will bring in 75 residents a year to DPS. The first round of residents teaching full time in the classroom will do so in the 2010-2011 school year.
In the program's inaugural year, there were over 250 applicants for just 25 residency positions; this year proves to be equally competitive with an applicant pool of the same size for approximately 35 residency positions. The highly selective screening process involves not only a written application with essays, professional references, and certification exams, but also a rigorous day-long interview which involves a teaching demonstration, personal interview, group work, and data analysis. Once vetted by the DTR selection committee, candidates must also be accepted into DU's Morgridge College of Education graduate program.