New teacher residency pilot aims to prepare educators for rural schools

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new teacher residency program is helping future educators fast track to a career in the classroom. Across the state, classrooms can't keep up with the demand for teachers.

"If all of the teachers graduated from all of the programs that credentialed, we'd still have a 6,000 gap of having enough credentialed teachers," said executive director of California Center on Teaching Careers, Donna Glassman-Sommer.

A new teacher residency pilot is aiming to change that. It's equipping 100 educators over the next five years to teach in rural schools, particularly Visalia Unified.

"You're assigned from day one in a classroom that you're going to stay in the entire year with a mentor-teacher that will co-teach with you," added Glassman-Sommer.

The California Center on Teacher Careers is partnering with California State Univeresity, Bakersfield to make the teacher residency project possible for rural education.

"As difficult as it's been to start a program in this environment, we've taken lemons and made lemonade," said Glassman-Sommer. "When these teachers come out they'll be very strong."

Amid the pandemic, these future educators are learning the ropes by virtually partnering with a teacher in a virtual classroom while still taking classes of their own.

"We kind of set it up as this could be mutually beneficial and it worked," said Glassman-Sommer.

7 students are part of the program. They'll receive their credentials next June before taking on classrooms of their own and going on to their masters. They hope to expand the program next year. If you're an aspiring educator you can learn more about applying here.
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