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Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Syracuse City School District/SUNY Oswego Teacher Residency Partnership

Teacher working with young studentsThis article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

Syracuse, New York is home to a longstanding residency partnership between SUNY Oswego and Syracuse City School District (SCSD). The district and university first developed the residency with resources obtained through New York State’s Clinically Rich Teacher Preparation Pilot in 2012.

When planning for the residency, partners recognized a particularly promising model inside the master’s level Childhood Education program. By placing residents inside schools as cohorts, committing substantive faculty time to those same schools, and providing time inside the school day for planning, collaboration, and reflection between residents and mentor teachers teams, and between those teams and program faculty, the residency model has become more than a high-quality preparation pathway for teacher candidates—it’s a part of each school’s culture and approach to strengthened teaching and learning inside its classrooms. “We’ve seen the residency model evolve over time as we plan, collaborate, and adjust our approaches, which allows us to be responsive to new goals and identified needs at the university or district level,” says Associate Dean Kristen Munger.

SUNY Oswego assigns faculty who teach methods courses two additional credits for supervising field experiences, making it possible for those faculty members to support candidates during their clinical placements. Because residents in the program are placed in schools as cohorts, the faculty member can spend concentrated periods of time inside the residency schools communicating and collaborating with residents, mentor teachers, and building leaders. 

Each school also provides time and space for residents, mentors, and faculty members to engage in this collaboration. Extended-day programming allows building leaders to build in 40 minutes of time each day for professional development, during which time residency teams can plan together, look at data, reflect on work, and communicate about needs.

An additional factor that has amplified the significance of the residency partnership results from SUNY Oswego’s commitment to professional development school (PDS) initiatives that promote learning and growth for both pre-service and in-service teachers. In addition to assigned time for field experiences attached to the methods course, the Childhood Education methods faculty member also has three credits of PDS work attached to her load.  This makes it possible to provide professional learning experiences to classroom teachers across the residency school community.

District leaders recognize the residency as an important component of their teacher recruitment pipeline strategies and a key contributor to their efforts to diversify the teaching-force inside the district. At SUNY Oswego, faculty and administrators have been committed to broadening access to this powerful pathway for more of their students, bringing college resources to bear on the effort. “Together, we’ve put structures in place to support a model that exemplifies what is possible when partnerships align resources and efforts on behalf of improved learning of pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and P-12 students,” says Amanda Fenlon, Curriculum & Instruction Department chair, at SUNY Oswego.

Learn more about the teacher residency by contacting Amanda Fenlon, chair, Curriculum & Instruction Department, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126.

AACTE members are invited to view videos highlighting SUNY Oswego TESOL residency program as part of the  AACTE Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series focused on the clinical residencies.

Patricia Russo is professor and graduate programs coordinator, Curriculum & Instruction Department, and director, Center for Urban Schools at the SUNY Oswego School of Education.

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