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Texas creates residency program for new teachers

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TEXAS — The State Board of Education approved a teacher residency bill, signaling a step towards strengthening teacher retention efforts.

Starting in September of 2024, the year-long residency will give new teachers the opportunity to work with veteran teachers before taking on a classroom of their own. 

"Texas is the first state in the country to reward candidates who choose this path to the classroom," Associate Commissioner, for the Texas Education Agency, Emily Garcia said.

In the state of Texas, the requirements to become a teacher are a bachelor's degree and a passing grade on the TexES Pedagogy & Professional Responsibilities (PPR) exam. Giving many who want a quick career change an opportunity to do so.

"The folks that don't stay tend to be the ones that come the quickest and leave the quickest," Garcia said. "We think increasing requirements will have a positive effect on teacher retention."

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is expecting the residency to be a great success, with many districts anticipating the program's launch.

"We have a lot of districts raising their hands and [asking] how many residences can you give me," Garcia said. 

The residency currently does not have funding from the state, however, there are currently other residency models that do offer a stipend to candidates.

According to Garcia, funding for the residency "was a hot topic in the last legislative session and [she] anticipates it will be in the next."

The state is seeking individuals ready to invest in themselves by experiencing the demands of effective teachers firsthand. The residency is available to college students, participants in an educator preparation program and those seeking a career change.

"Having candidates spend time learning the art and science of teaching while combining their passions for both the content and the students will result in candidates who are better prepared, more likely to stay, and more likely to significantly improve reading and math achievements for students," Garcia said.

Interested participants can find more information on TEA's website, under certifications educator preparation resources.

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