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Press Release for Wednesday, June 18, 2014

UNF Launches Jacksonville Teacher Residency Program

Jessica Scott, Public Relations Specialist

Department of Media Relations and Events

(904) 620-2192

The University of North Florida will formally launch an innovative program for preparing mathematics and science teachers for challenging urban schools. The Jacksonville Teacher Residency Program will begin at 8 a.m. Friday, June 20, as 11 new teacher residents convene with UNF and Duval County leaders for a meet and greet breakfast. Speakers will include Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti and UNF’s Teacher Residency Program Coordinator Wanda Lastrapes.


The Jacksonville Teacher Residency Program is a major investment made by the Quality Education for All Fund, a multi-donor fund at the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. The launch of the JTR represents an investment of more than $10 million in private funding over a five-year period.


“We are excited to work with Duval County and the QEA donor group to develop a cohort of outstanding teachers for our urban schools,” commented Dr. Larry Daniel, dean of the UNF College of Education and Human Services. “Providing our residents with a year-long experience working in an urban classroom and an intellectually rigorous master’s degree will yield teachers prepared for the most challenging classrooms, who will stay in teaching for the long haul.” 


Jacksonville’s residency model seeks to improve the effectiveness and retention of new teachers while increasing the diversity of the District’s teacher corps. JTR’s goal is to recruit and educate high achieving, teacher candidates who have bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering or math areas. The candidates, called residents, will be placed with DCPS mentor teachers to complete job-embedded apprenticeships in high-need, secondary schools.


Residents will spend a full 10 months in an urban classroom, enabling them to learn the intricacies of teaching while receiving critical guidance and feedback from an expert teacher. The residency model blends the experience of a year-long, classroom apprenticeship with master’s level coursework leading to a Master of Education degree from UNF. UNF faculty is working with DCPS content area specialists to design a unique graduate program, customized to meet the STEM-related needs of the participating schools.


This unique collaboration was formed through the public-private partnership of DCPS and Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. Initial planning for the JTR launch began in fall 2013. The initiative is a core part of a broader DCPS strategy to increase the capacity in high-needs schools to nurture students’ academic potential.  


Applying the principles of the medical residency model, urban teacher residency programs are based on a national model that places high potential candidates as apprentices to experienced educators. As a part of their degree program, residents are immediately able to apply the content and theory learned from university coursework to their classroom experiences.


During their first year, residents will spend four days per week in the classroom working alongside a high-performing mentor teacher. As a group, they will also be completing master’s level coursework at UNF. Residents will receive a living stipend during their residency year, tuition reimbursement and earn state certification. In return, for three years following their residency year, residents agree to become the math or science teacher of record in a high-need, DCPS secondary school.


Other program components include targeted recruitment and selection of high achieving residents aligned with district needs, comprehensive and ongoing professional development support for mentor teachers and comprehensive and ongoing post-residency/induction support for program graduates.


The College of Education and Human Service’s mission is the preparation and support of educators who are competent and contributing professionals for diverse learning communities in northeast Florida.


            UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.