BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) – The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) has approved more than $1.5 million in grant awards for Louisiana universities and school systems to advance the statewide shift to full-year residencies for all aspiring teachers.
Like many states across the nation, Louisiana’s schools have experienced staffing shortages and difficulty retaining excellent teachers.
In October 2016, BESE adopted regulations to address these challenges, providing teacher candidates with a full-year classroom residency alongside an experienced mentor teacher, coupled with a competency-based curriculum that will provide them with the knowledge and skills needed for their first day of teaching.
Teacher candidates admitted into programs in the 2018-19 year will be the first cohort to experience the required year-long residency and new competency-based models.
“The residency program is a key component to ensuring that new teachers enter the classroom ready on day one,” said BESE Vice President Dr. Holly Boffy. “This is an important initiative to further strengthen teaching in Louisiana. Great teachers pave the way for our students to excel academically and achieve their goals.”
The funding package, which draws from existing state and federal funds, is based on an approved funding formula that includes grant allocations for Louisiana universities with approved undergraduate teacher preparation programs, as well as 18 partnering school systems.
More than $1 million was awarded to universities to support staff costs related to the transition of preparation programs, and nearly $600,000 was awarded to school systems to provide 233 teacher candidates, or residents, completing year-long residencies and 228 mentor teachers hosting year-long residencies with $2,000 and $1,000 stipends, respectively.
“Louisiana has recently been nationally recognized for its innovative teacher preparation strategy,” said State Superintendent of Education John White, citing recent headlines that praise the state’s approach. “These funds are essential to ensuring our preparation providers are supported as they make this transition.”
The approval of these allocations and the shift to full-year residencies is part of a broader effort to strengthen and elevate the teaching profession.