Building Strong Residency Partnerships: Challenges and Opportunities in the CA Teacher Residency Grant
California has made a major investment in teacher residencies, allocating over $500 million through the California Teacher Residency Grant Program to launch and expand teacher residencies throughout the state and alleviate the state’s chronic teacher shortage.
This evaluation brief highlights the early challenges and successes of grant-funded teacher residencies in their efforts to build sustainable partnerships across residency programming, host local education agencies (LEAs), and partner institutions of higher education (IHE). The findings suggest a crucial need for grant-funded residency programs to develop and deepen authentic LEA and IHE partnerships and that a supportive policy ecosystem that helps grant recipients strengthen these partnerships will play a critical role in realizing the promise of California’s new teacher residencies.
The brief also provides recommendations for state-level leadership and agencies, LEA and IHE leadership, and residency program practitioners to support effective and sustainable residency programs.
- Most leads expressed a desire for more intensive LEA leadership awareness and engagement with the residency program.
- There is an opportunity to strengthen connections between the residency program and key LEA functions, particularly human resources and business/finance.
- Basic partnership team structures could be bolstered across most programs.
- Most programs have not yet landed on a sufficient and sustainable staffing structure.
- Contextual challenges—such as COVID-19 stressors, leadership and staff turnover, and budget deficits—can pose significant challenges for partnership development.
- Competition with intern or other pathways make it difficult for residency partnerships to gain traction within LEAs.
- Residency program participation in technical assistance to support residencies has been uneven.
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