UB Teacher Residency Program gets $3.5M grant to expand

[Buffalo News] UB Teacher Residency Program gets $3.5M grant to expand

UB Teacher Residency Program gets $3.5M grant to expand amid teacher shortage

A University at Buffalo program that is helping change the model for teacher education just received a $3.5 million federal grant to expand its reach in Western New York and address the regional and national K-12 teacher shortage.

The UB Teacher Residency Program, which we reported on in depth last month, was awarded one of 22 grants nationwide from the U.S. Department of Education’s Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Program, Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, announced.

The grant will support the program’s mission of increasing the number, diversity and preparedness of teachers serving the Buffalo Public Schools, and assist UB in expanding the program to serve more students in the city and three neighboring districts, said Suzanne Rosenblith, professor and dean of UB’s Graduate School of Education, which leads the Teacher Residency program.

“With this new grant, the UB Teacher Residency program will continue to increase educational opportunities for all students by recruiting, preparing and supporting racially, ethnically, economically and linguistically diverse professionals to work in Buffalo Public Schools,” Rosenblith said.

UB’s program allows anyone with a bachelor’s degree to earn an accelerated master’s degree in education in a year, in large part by replacing the traditional 15 weeks of student teaching with a full year of classroom experience supported by a mentor veteran teacher.

UB launched the Teacher Residency Program in 2019 based on the medical-school model to immerse students in the field for a full school year. The program also trains teachers to better understand the challenges facing students, families and communities in an urban setting and improve outcomes for students from historically underserved communities.

The one-year model makes it easier for aspiring teachers, including people in the workforce looking to change careers, to make the leap. It starts each May with a summer of intensive coursework, then places students in schools in fall to spend the entire school year co-teaching with a mentor. Residents receive an $18,000 stipend for their academic year of student teaching.

Rosenblith said the grant will provide stipends for 40 more teacher residents over two years in the Buffalo Public Schools and help expand the program to the Sweet Home Central School District, Amherst Central School District and Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District.

UB Teacher Residency Program is ‘future of teacher education’

“We have built a community of 70 residents, 60 mentors and more than 40 UB faculty,” program director Amanda Winkelsas said.

She said the UB program’s emphasis on social emotional learning strategies – which build students’ self-esteem and relationships between schools, families and community – are key components of the SEED grant funding.

“A growing body of knowledge suggests that a key way of addressing students’ social-emotional needs is by embedding these practices into instruction,” she said. “We will do this through a series of modules with virtual and in-person coaching across the school year.”

Higgins said the grant will also help address the widespread teacher shortage that has worsened since the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused many teachers to retire or leave the field out of frustration with remote schooling.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been difficult for teachers in Western New York and across the country,” Higgins said. “With students back in the classroom, teachers must now address the educational gaps that resulted from pandemic-related learning disruptions amid nationwide staffing shortages.”

“Funding from the U.S. Department of Education will not only address current staffing shortages in local schools, but it will also provide long-term investments in the teacher pipeline that ensure opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds,” he added. “It supports a strong education workforce in Western New York that is well prepared for success in the classroom.”

So far, UB has had 70 students complete the Teacher Residency Program, which requires that they commit to spending another three years teaching in the Buffalo Public Schools, hopefully increasing teacher retention rates in the future.

UB plans to make yearlong residencies a requirement for all of its teacher education programs, and will expand the program over the next three years to provide professional experience for another 110 resident educators, said the program’s director, Amanda Winkelsas, UB clinical assistant professor in the Department of Learning and Instruction.

The program is succeeding in recruiting diverse teachers. This year’s class of 20 teacher residents are the most diverse yet – 32% white, 47% Black/African American, 11% Hispanic/Latin and 11% Asian or multiracial.

Jeff Banks, principal at Lorraine Elementary School, said he was thrilled to welcome some of the new residents at his school.

“This is an opportunity to really provide a focus and help grow our future teaching leaders in the Buffalo Public Schools,” he said.

Want to know more? Three stories to catch you up:

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Welcome to Buffalo Next. This newsletter from The Buffalo News will bring you the latest coverage on the changing Buffalo Niagara economy – from real estate to health care to startups. Read more at BuffaloNext.com.


Catch up on the latest news from the Buffalo Niagara economy:

Buffalo fitness training software startup CoachMePlus has raised $1 million in new funding from investors.

The former Emerald South nursing home is slated to be turned into apartments.

Community groups are pushing for a significant piece of the funding that will be part of a Buffalo Bills community benefits agreement, but they feel left out of negotiations.

Former 43North prize winner CleanFiber plans to expand its Hamburg facility again.

A Cleveland developer is planning a wide-ranging senior housing complex in Amherst.

A state-backed program to rehabilitate property that had been purchased by speculators in Niagara Falls and spur development there has completed one of its first projects.

A pair of new retailers – Sierra and Homesense – picked Amherst for their first stores in Western New York.

Josh Allen and Kaleida leaders announced the largest gift yet for the Patricia Allen Fund – $2 million from West Herr Automotive.

A strike has ended at Sysco Syracuse, which was affecting about 30 drivers from the Buffalo area.

A Buffalo Bills stadium deal won't be done for months, as another extension agreement was reached.


Five reads from Buffalo Next:

1. Eight 43 North finalists will pitch live onstage Thursday in front of a packed crowd at Shea's Performing Arts Center. A new panel of judges will pick five companies to each win a $1 million investment from 43North. The week began with 15 startups competing in this year's revamped competition. Organizers made the changes to keep the contest relevant in the increasingly competitive market to attract – and nurture – promising startups.

2. As New York moves toward legalized cannabis sales, the experience in other states gives a strong indication of what works - and what doesn't.

3. For kids with autism, a different way of learning: Canisius College's Institute for Autism Research offers a unique social skills intervention that starts with young children, but could improve the quality of life for all autistic people.

4. As Micron picks Syracuse, will Genesee County ever land its own semiconductor win? The Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park, or STAMP, pitches its ability to lure workers from both Rochester and Buffalo. But is its location, in an isolated spot in the Town of Alabama, more of a liability than economic development officials think?

5. A handful of solar farms proposed for sites across Western New York will be among the biggest in the state, which is pushing to get more electricity from renewable sources.

The Buffalo Next team gives you the big picture on the region’s economic revitalization. Email tips to buffalonext@buffnews.com or reach Deputy Business Editor David Robinson at 716-849-4435.

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Higher Education Reporter

I'm the new Higher Education reporter on The Buffalo News business enterprise team. I previously worked at The Post-Standard/Syracuse.com and Syracuse's Rosamond Gifford Zoo. I'm a Rochester native with family in Buffalo. Email me at jgramza@buffnews.com.

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