$1.29 Million Awarded to A&M-Commerce, UT Tyler for Teacher Residency Program

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has granted $1.29 million to collaborators Texas A&M University-Commerce and the University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler) to implement and evaluate an innovative teacher residency program—the first of its kind in Texas.

The “Texas Teacher Residency Program (TRes): An Apprenticeship Model for Texas,” based on the successful Urban Teachers Residency United Program in Chicago, is a one-year teacher residency program leading to a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and teacher certification in high school science or mathematics, fields in which teacher shortages persist. The first cohort of residents is projected to have earned degrees and certifications by the end of August 2015, when TRes funding ends.

The A&M-Commerce project team consists of curriculum and instruction department faculty Drs. Gil Naizer, principal investigator and professor; Kit Price Blount, LeoTeach director; Martha Foote, department head; and Carole Walker, assistant department head. The Mesquite Independent School District will partner with A&M Commerce to carry out the Texas Teacher Residency Program. In partnership with the Tyler Independent School District, Dr. Michael Odell, vice president for research and technology transfer, will lead UT Tyler’s efforts.

“On average, there are approximately 25 vacancies each year in our district for highly qualified STEM teachers,” said Dr. Linda Henrie, superintendent for the Mesquite Independent School District. “I am delighted that by August 2015, this program will provide a cohort of 15 exemplary teachers to fill vacancies in Mesquite and possibly other partner districts.”

In addition to producing those teachers, the program will incorporate research to compare the impact of two teacher residency models via teacher appraisal, retention in teaching and student achievement results. TRes will also pay the resident students a living wage as they work toward graduation.

“Texas A&M University-Commerce has demonstrated strong dedication to training teachers by graduating the highest numbers of teachers among The Texas A&M University System regional division campuses,” said A&M-Commerce President Dan R. Jones. “The collaborative efforts with the University of Texas at Tyler and Mesquite and Tyler ISDs as proposed in the Texas Teacher Residency Program will increase the number of trained and highly qualified STEM teachers and skilled mentors in the Northeast Texas region.”