The states RESC’s are leading the effort to fill a critical employment gap through certification and recruitment of minority teachers.
On May 1, CREC’s new Teacher Residency Program was approved as an item on the consent agenda at the Connecticut State Board of Education meeting. The CREC Teacher Residency Program is an alternate route to elementary certification program that embraces a different approach to attract and retain minority teacher candidates.
Ten residents chosen from the applicant pool will be assigned to ten master teachers in CREC schools to begin their 14-month road to certification starting in June 2019. Residents are each paid $32,000 per year with benefits to be mentored by their master teacher for one year. Residents are then guaranteed a full-time classroom teaching position in the second school year upon completion of the certification requirements.
“For far too long we have been trying to simply recruit more teachers of color, and what we decided is that we need to certify more teachers of color,” said Tim Sullivan, Superintendent of CREC Magnet Schools. “So this program is designed to help overcome some of the obstacles that have kept people from getting certified and give them an opportunity to get certification and work in the schools. We are most excited for the opportunity to create teachers from our own schools, instead of trying to recruit them from elsewhere.”
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, and preference will be given to applicants of color who graduated from Hartford Public Schools, CREC Magnet Schools, or the Hartford Region Open Choice Program.
CREC’s idea is to prioritize minority candidates’ potential to work with diverse students and minimizes barriers to traditional certification program admission.
“I thought to myself, ‘Yes! Someone understands the financial obstacle and time constraint many people of color face while pursuing graduate school,’” said Cyemone Douglas, one of the initial applicants and an Associate Instructor at CREC Montessori Magnet School, about her reaction to learning about the program. “I always had a passion to teach, but time and financial constraints prevented me from pursuing my certification.”
Coursework will be required of the residents in the summer, after school hours, and on weekends. Courses were designed and will be delivered by practicing CREC educators and administrators, prioritizing skills necessary to be successful in a diverse classroom.
“I am very proud to have been an active participant in the development of the CREC Teacher Residency Program,” said Lisa Cordova, president of the CREC Education Association, CREC’s teachers union. “Along with district administrators, CREC teachers, and support from the Connecticut Education Association, we spent close to two years developing this comprehensive program we have before us that addresses the continuing need to have teachers of color instructing CREC students. “
Application and rolling admissions for the program are open now until June 21, 2019. More information and the application link can be found at https://www.ct-trp.org/ .
Other regions of the state are also taking steps to increase the diversity in school staffs. At Cooperative Educational Services, the RESC that covers the southwestern corner of Connecticut, a Minority Teacher Recruitment meeting was held May 21 to help districts in that region build quality plans for recruiting and retaining minority educators. District administrators and HR personnel listened to a panel of minority educators talk about their education and hiring paths. The meeting was attended by George Coleman, the former state Department of Education commissioner who is now a C.E.S. consultant, Kim Wachtelhausen of the DOE Talent Office, and Esther Bobowick, director of the PDS department at C.E.S. The photos below are from that meeting.