In the 2014-15 school year, Citizen Schools, in partnership with UMASS Boston and the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, launched the Citizen Schools Teacher Residency (CSTR), a program designed to increase equitable access to effective teachers for low-income and high-need students in Citizen Schools Massachusetts’ partner districts. The program combines teaching in an expanded day setting, as part of the Citizen Schools AmeriCorps Teaching Fellowship, with mentorship and coursework that allows participants a pathway to teacher certification and a Master's Degree in education from UMASS Boston upon graduation.
“I never imagined that I would be serving as an AmeriCorps member with Citizen Schools at a school I once attended as a student. At first, it was jarring to be back at the Trotter after so many years, but the familiarity eventually made me feel comfortable.”
Citizen Schools is excited to announce that this academic year marked the beginning of the new national Citizen Schools Teacher Residency (CSTR) program, developed with and generously funded by both New Schools Venture Fund and the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. The mission of the CSTR is to increase equitable access to effective teachers for low-income and high need students in Citizen Schools’ partner districts across the country. Citizen Schools employs 261 AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows nationally who serve in our partner schools and provide our students with academic support, hands-on apprenticeships, and college and career readiness courses. The CSTR program will offer a rigorous and structured opportunity for high-performing Teaching Fellows in California, Massachusetts, and New York to deepen their instructional skills and earn teacher certification in a high-need subject area (ELA, Math, Sciences and/or specialized credentialing options). The CSTR is one way Citizen Schools hopes to address the national shortage of qualified teachers in urban communities in the United States. Staggeringly, more than two thirds of 5th-8th grade students nationally are taught by first shift teachers who do not have math degrees or certifications. And in urban districts, close to 50% of new teachers leave the profession during their first five years of teaching. Superintendents of urban school districts are struggling to keep their open teaching positions filled. But, by developing teachers in and for high-need partner school districts, the CSTR graduates will be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed to serve as highly effective leaders and teachers in challenging, urban districts.
Partnering with Drexel University in California, UMass Boston in Massachusetts, and Relay GSE in New York, Teaching Fellows across the country are completing the rigorous requirements necessary to graduate as a certified teacher. In California, CSTR Fellows will not only fulfill their traditional responsibilities in Citizen Schools’ ELT program, but they will also complete summer and evening coursework taught by professors at Drexel University’s School of Education. The Fellows will also be paired with a mentor teacher at their school site with whom they will plan and teach for two periods of the regular school day. Throughout the year, the fellows will receive a gradual increase in teaching responsibility, ultimately leading to the Fellow taking on the lead teacher role for several months in the spring semester.
In California, Teaching Fellows will choose to enter the CSTR after the first year of their fellowship. This allows Fellows to fully understand the reality of teaching in high-need schools before they decide to pursue a teaching certification. Once they do decide, CSTR Fellows will commit to serve in Citizen Schools’ partner school districts for two years after their fellowship. This allows Citizen Schools’ partner schools and districts to have access to a much- needed pipeline of highly qualified “first-year” teachers who have already proven their talent and commitment in high-need communities.
Click here if you are interested in applying for Citizen Schools’ Teaching Fellowship or Teacher Residency Program.