WARSAW — Warsaw Community Schools staff recently received a grant award of $30,000.
Through this competitive grant provided by Indiana Commission for Higher Education, WCS and Grace College will develop two resident teacher positions for the 2021-22 school year with hopes of continuing the program long-term.
The Teacher Residency Grant Pilot Program was created in 2019 by the Indiana General Assembly. The grant is focused on high-need teaching areas in the state of Indiana. Modeled after medical residency and apprenticeship programs, teacher residency programs are full-year, paid teaching experiences for student educators, while also paying mentor teachers for the extra time spent supporting the students. Students will teach alongside experienced mentor teachers, preparing them for their own classroom after graduation.
WCS and Grace College have spent the last year planning for the new teacher residency positions. Current student teaching placements are for one semester of college or 15 weeks. The residency grant placements will be for two semesters of college or 30 weeks. Specifically for this year, WCS focused on needs within special education. These teacher residents working toward dual licensure and certification in both special education and elementary education will split time throughout the full year with mentors in both the special education and general education classrooms. Teacher residents will also have college supervisors in each area who will help provide guidance and support.
The primary motivation for implementing a teacher residency partnership is to support future educators who will be more prepared for a teaching role, which as a result, will better support students. These teacher residency positions will be particularly valuable because they will promote collaboration and ongoing support throughout the course of an entire school year and allow student teachers time with quality mentors to strengthen their instructional practices.
“WCS is very excited to partner with Grace College in the Teacher Residency Grant,” said Dr. David Hoffert, WCS superintendent. “Recruitment and retaining highly qualified educators is a top priority. Through this grant, we will be working to create a pipeline of teachers in specific high need areas of employment. We are hopeful that these new teacher residency positions will helps student teachers feel more equipped thanks to the year-long guidance of highly qualified mentor teachers. WCS is thankful for the continued partnership with Grace College and Warsaw Community Schools.”
“The Grace College School of Education is so grateful for the strong partnership with Warsaw Community Schools and the many ways WCS educators welcome our students into their classrooms,” said Lorinda Kline, Grace College Director of Student Teaching. “The modeling, expertise, and encouragement of WCS teachers are essential to our students as they apply their coursework in classrooms with guidance from experienced teachers. We are thrilled to be part of this innovative plan to provide even more mentorship and apprenticeship time to our student teachers.”