Teacher residency academies (TRAs) are gaining attention as a powerful tool for teacher preparation and professional development; however, there is a lack of empirical study demonstrating their merit. The goal of the Teacher Residency Academy Alliance (TRA2) - a partnership among Jackson State University, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Xavier University of Louisiana, and seven diverse urban and rural school districts in Mississippi and Louisiana - is to investigate the implementation of a TRA model to recruit, license, induct, employ, and retain 28 middle school and secondary science teachers for high-need schools that serve more than 119,000 diverse students. The Alliance will accomplish its goal by completing the following specific objectives: create a high quality, rigorous, and clinically-based teacher preparation program for aspiring middle and secondary science teachers; recruit, prepare, employ, and support an increased number of diverse (e.g., African American), effective middle and secondary science educators in high-need urban and rural schools; and contribute to the knowledge base regarding the implementation of a clinically-based science teacher preparation for middle and secondary classrooms in diverse schools. The project will enable one cohort of 28 teachers to successfully complete the TRA2 program and obtaining state licensure/certification in science teaching, a master's degree, and initiation to National Board certification.
The project's focus on middle school and secondary science helps make TRA2 unique in its approach to increase the number of high quality, culturally responsive, and licensed middle and secondary science teachers prepared to teach in the nation's high-need urban and rural schools. Project outcomes of this two year project are expected to inform the design of additional TRAs that will serve as a novel alternative to the traditional teacher preparation and post-baccalaureate certification programs common throughout the nation.
The study design will be formative. The data obtained through surveys of teachers, district leaders, and principals, telephone interviews of mentors, and from extant data, will provide important information regarding the implementation of TRA2.