Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Teacher Residency Pilot at the College of Staten Island
This 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.
The College of Staten Island (CSI) enrolls many diverse first-generation college students. A number of these students support their families and themselves, working multiple jobs and limiting expenses while studying—making it impossible to pursue a traditional student teaching pathway that includes a semester of unpaid, full-time student teaching. Seeing that many students were effectively being excluded from teacher preparation, the College and its partner schools set out to create a teacher residency that paid students for their time spent in classrooms, providing an accessible path to a teaching career.
In Summer 2019, CSI welcomed the first cohort of residents into a pilot Teacher Residency program hosted at PS 45 in Staten Island. The pilot program was the outgrowth of longstanding conversations between CSI and its P-12 partners about how to create deeper, more meaningful clinical experiences for aspiring teachers that could also serve real needs inside public schools. Like many programs, CSI had sought grant support for a residency pilot. In 2018, the College and its partners in NYC District 31 and PS 45 decided to work in earnest to develop a program on their own, without such outside support.
The partnership set an ambitious goal: complete the necessary planning and program adjustments within one school year to launch the pilot by the summer. They recognized the need to have an inclusive set of voices at the table so that the program could benefit from existing strengths and resources and help meet prevailing needs across the local community. A steering committee, co-chaired by a point person from both the local district, District 31, and CSI, also included school leaders and teachers, collective bargaining units, central NYC Department of Education and City University of New York staff, as well as community organizations. Hearing from steering committee members with a range of perspectives enabled us to identify potential challenges and roadblocks early on. We were able to find creative solutions that might not have been possible had all those voices not been at the table.
The steering committee convened similarly inclusive work groups to develop detailed plans for the pilot, including curricular adjustments, processes to identify and support mentor teachers, recruitment and admissions approaches, and sustainable funding models. The partnership had identified a goal of establishing a financial package of at least $15,000 for the first cohort of residents. Many reached, or surpassed that goal through $13,000 in compensation over the course of 15 months because of the various instructional services they provided through their program work, both inside the residency school site and in summer and afterschool programs run by a community partner, and an additional $3,000 investment by the United Federation of Teachers. Residents also benefit from a tuition savings of about $6,000 because the partnership could capitalize on the tighter praxis between coursework and clinical experiences to reduce the number of credits needed to complete the degree program. In the end, the residents benefit from overall financial supports of approximately $22,000.
The partnership continues to focus on long-term sustainability to ensure more universal access to the opportunity, working from a foundation built by braiding resources from across the P-12 and higher education systems and their community partners.
To learn more about the teacher residency at CSI, you can visit the website.
Deirdre Armitage is the director of clinical collaborations, School of Education, College of Staten Island.