With a grant of nearly $100,000 from the Black Educators Initiative, a new teacher residency program from William Carey University will increase the number of black classroom teachers in three school districts in Mississippi – Hattiesburg, Covington County and Moss Point.
“This new BEI Residency Scholarship is the result of our work with the Mississippi Teacher Residency program, established in 2019 by a Mississippi Department of Education grant, and our relationship as a network partner with the National Center for Teacher Residencies,” said Dr. Katie Tonore, chair of curriculum and instruction for the WCU School of Education.
She continued, “The focus of this new grant is on recruiting, developing, and retaining academically talented teachers from under-represented populations. Our program will have immediate benefits because it will allow candidates to pursue an alternate route to certification and could place new teachers into classrooms as soon as this fall.”
Both residency programs focus on giving students classroom experience under the guidance of mentor teachers.
WCU partnered with two Gulf Coast school districts on the earlier Mississippi Teacher Residency program. Its first cohort of new classroom teachers graduated in May.
The new initiative is an adaptation of WCU’s “Alternate Route” program, which provides people who already have bachelor’s degrees with the classes they need to earn certification as fourth- through 12th-grade classroom teachers.
Ten students chosen for the program will take classes at William Carey this summer, earning teaching certificates.
The K-12 partner school districts will hire them as classroom teachers for fall 2021.
For two years, the new teachers will work in the classroom, meet with mentor teachers about daily challenges and attend seminars presented by WCU education faculty about current education issues.
The National Center for Teacher Residencies launched the Black Educators Initiative to assist its partners as they seek to support the development of black classroom teachers and improve student outcomes.
Anissa Listak is the CEO of the National Center for Teacher Residencies.
“Focusing the work of residencies on teachers of color and, in particular, black teachers, is core to our mission to ensure that students of color and low-income students have equitable access to diverse and culturally responsive educators,” Listak said.
William Carey University is one of only 20 institutions in the nation to receive a 2021 Black Educators Initiative teacher residency grant.