Residency program works to address Arizona teacher shortage

Applications are now open for the second official class of the Arizona Teacher Residency Program.
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 8:14 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The ongoing teacher shortage is an issue plaguing schools in Arizona and across the country, but a local program is trying to change that. If you’re interested in a career in education, applications are now open for the second official class of the Arizona Teacher Residency program.

The two-year program, which is similar to medical residencies, is the work of the Arizona Department of Education, Northern Arizona University and the Arizona K12 Center. The idea is to give students more hands-on experience while working toward a master’s degree.

It includes a summer institute followed by program residents serving as apprentices for supervising teachers before going off on their own. Then, they’re eligible to be hired at partnering school districts where they must commit to teaching for at least three years after the program.

“I think we learned a lot about matching residents with supervising teachers, find that right balance between personalities,” said Victoria Theisen-Homer, Arizona Teacher Residency Director. “Everyone has a different personality and when you’re in someone’s room for a year, it helps to be really aligned.”

The program includes living stipends and a salary. Teaching can be a demanding job and with record inflation, program officials have learned residents need more financial and emotional support.

The main goal is to prepare educators and keep them in the classroom. The first residency class included 22 prospective teachers. For the next round in 2023, they’re hoping for a class of 40.

Tap/click here for more information on the Arizona Teacher Residency. The program will also be hosting an hour-long virtual information session on Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m.