Teacher Residencies Get a Legislative Push
Teacher residencies continue to build major momentum in Delaware.
Teacher residencies—a teacher preparation model where a district or school partners with a university to provide coursework and real-life teaching experience to pre-service teachers—now have an official bill in Legislative Hall.
The bill looks to more heavily invest and expand teacher residency programs across the state. Delaware already boasts established examples of residency programs at Wilmington University and RELAY Graduate School of Education, as well as recently launched programs at the University of Delaware and Delaware State University.
What’s Being Proposed?
Currently, the state invests in yearlong teacher residencies on a year-to-year basis through the budget process; 52 resident stipends were funded in 2020-21 through the $1 million line item. HB178, introduced by Rep. Kim Williams (chair of the House Education Committee), codifies Delaware’s yearlong teacher residencies and ensures that funds are provided for sustained investment. The bill also provides guidelines on how and when funds are awarded and the parameters for the allowable use of funds.
Why Teacher Residencies?
Residencies are seen as the ‘gold-standard’ for teacher preparation because of the in-depth, immersive experience they provide candidates. The benefits of this route, as outlined in our previous blog, are best seen through improved recruitment and retention of candidates.
Residencies also typically focus on high-need content or hiring areas in a high-need school. In Delaware, this includes areas like: middle school and high school math, middle school and high school science, foreign language, secondary special education, and bilingual/ESOL programs.
Teacher residency programs can also help boost the recruitment and retention of teachers of color, an area where Delaware can do better. In Delaware, teachers and school leaders are overwhelming white while nearly half of the student population are students of color. As of the 2017-18 school year, less than 15 percent of teachers in Delaware were non-white.
What Else is Happening?
The introduction of HB178 is just one of the many examples of interest in teacher residencies in the First State.
In March 2021, the Educator Support Team at DDOE announced the latest awards to support yearlong teacher residencies from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. Gov. John Carney’s recommended FY22 budget once again includes $1 million for teacher residencies.
Momentum is also building at Delaware’s institutes of higher education. The National Center for Teacher Residencies is working with DSU to develop their residency programs. The College of Arts and Sciences and College of Human Development at University of Delaware held a conference last February focused on teacher residencies.
With the introduction of HB178, the state has an opportunity to affirm its commitment to teacher residencies. By taking this action, Delaware can provide a consistent structure and framing that will allow districts and IHEs to plan accordingly for each funding cycle.
To learn more about teacher residencies, view our blog and additional resources here.
Teacher residencies support Delaware’s teacher workforce, and the diversity of that workforce. Click here to find your legislator’s contact information and tell them directly that you support residencies, training, and supports for pre-service teachers.