NCTR recently published two new resources that will be of interest and use to our partners. Our 2015 Network Impact Overview provides a selection of evidence showing that NCTR's 20 high-performing residency programs are fulfilling their goal to strengthen teacher preparation and ensure new teachers enter the classroom ready. We also have a new case study, Innovations in Preparation: Boettcher Teacher Residency's Rural Expansion, which chronicles the efforts of the pioneering Boettcher program to expand its reach to rural school districts within Colorado.Innovations in Preparation: Boettcher Teacher Residency's Rural Expansion
In 2011, NCTR Network partner Boettcher Teacher Residency became interested in an expansion into Colorado's rural districts. Its managing partner, the Public Educational and Business Coalition (PEBC), encouraged Boettcher to explore statewide expansion; at the same time, the U.S. Department of Education had issued an RFP for rural-facing teacher preparation programs.
Boettcher committed to rural expansion in 2013-2014. Understanding the need for a partner with close ties to the community, they joined forced with Adams State University, which had a similar interest in serving Colorado's rural communities. Adams State was an ideal partner because of their willingness to donate faculty to the residency, which meant cost savings for the program. Boettcher also received strategic consulting from NCTR on financial modeling and start-up considerations that would support expansion.
Boettcher encountered challenges in school selection, mentor preparation, and resident recruitment, which they have successfully combated through both innovation and program customization to fit the needs of the districts served. From their work with Boettcher, NCTR's recommendations within the Innovations in Preparation: Boettcher Teacher Residency's Rural Expansion case study for programs considering rural expansion include:
Strong Partnerships: Rural expansion requires partnerships with organizations that know the communities they serve, a demonstrated commitment to using data to develop a human capital strategy, the administration of a needs assessment with prospective stakeholders, and the development of a financial model that will ensure sustainability.
Understanding Your Market: Recruitment within rural communities requires a strategy that highlights the community's assets and a consistent, mindful approach to matching residents to districts and schools so that residents do not face tension that contradict the program's beliefs in race and equity.
A Continuous Learning Mindset: Expansion of any kind requires an acknowledgment of challenges and gaps and a consistent desire to improve.