published Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Teacher residency program expanded


by Kelli Gauthier

Hamilton County Schools will start training an additional 12 new middle-school math teachers this summer through a teacher residency grant, officials announced Wednesday.

The $2 million grant comes from the Tennessee Department of Education's portion of the federal Race to the Top money and will be given out over four years. Memphis City Schools and Metro Nashville Schools received similar grants.

"We feel very fortunate to have received this," said Ava Warren, Hamilton County's assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

The grant will go toward expanding Hamilton County's current teacher residency program, Teach/Here. In its first year, Teach/Here is a partnership with Knox County Schools, the University of Tennessee and the Public Education Foundation.

Hamilton County Schools will continue working with PEF on the new program for the 12 additional teachers, but Tennessee Tech University will provide the education portion, instead of UT.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

To learn more about the Teach/Here residency program, school system officials said information should soon be available at:

* www.hcde.org

* www.pefchattanooga.org

Because the program focuses on middle school math teachers only -- the first Teach/Here residents are teaching middle and high school math and science -- Tennessee Tech was a good option because the school offers a general teaching certification for grades four through eight, said Danielle

Clark, spokeswoman for Hamilton County Schools.

Although applicants should have "some math in their background," a previously earned math degree is not required, Warren said.

After spending about four days a week in a classroom with a mentor teacher and one day a week taking classes, residents will have earned a master's degree and teaching credentials in one year.

Warren said the district has not yet identified which middle schools will benefit from the new teacher residents, who will start their training this summer.

For now, like the first Teach/Here program, the district will focus on hard-to-staff urban schools.

"The purpose is to produce high-quality teachers," Warren said. "What would be wonderful is that we find out that this works really well and open it up to more schools."

about Kelli Gauthier...

Kelli Gauthier covers K-12 education in Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She started at the paper as an intern in 2006, crisscrossing the region writing feature stories from Pikeville, Tenn., to Lafayette, Ga. She also covered crime and courts before taking over the education beat in 2007. A native of Frederick, Md., Kelli came south to attend Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Before newspapers, ...

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