Applications now open for new Arizona Teacher Residency Program

By Rocio Hernandez
Published: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 5:32pm
Updated: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 6:39pm

Applications are now open for the new Arizona Teacher Residency program which aims to recruit, train and support future teachers and keep them in the profession. 

The program is also hoping to diversify the profession by targeting racially diverse individuals, said the program's director Victoria Theisen-Homer.

“We’re looking for teachers especially from underrepresented groups. We know that we don’t have enough men in teaching, we don’t have enough teachers of color, we don’t have enough first-generation college students in the teaching profession." she said. "We would love for the residents to reflect the students in the schools in which we’re partnering.”

The program by the Arizona K12 Center at Northern Arizona University was first announced in late October and was made possible, in part, with a $5 million grant from the Arizona Department of Education's federal COVID-19 relief money. 

During the two-year program, residents will be able to earn a tuition-free master’s degree from Northern Arizona University as part of the Arizona Teacher Academy. They will also work as a teacher apprentice and get hired as a teacher of record at one of three partner Phoenix-area school districts — Tempe Elementary, Osborn and Roosevelt.

"So it’s really a pipeline into their schools where (residents are) trained in their schools in their context," Theisen-Homer said. "(Residents) learn really to connect with that individual community and then will hopefully stay in that community for years and years because we know that residency programs advance teacher retention more than just about any other model.”

In addition to tuition support, residents will get a $15,000 living stipend to support themselves during their year of apprenticeship. In exchange, residents must commit to serving their district for a minimum of three years after the residency year. 

Thirty residents will be selected for the program’s first cohort. Interested individuals must have a bachelor's degree in any field to apply. Participants must be a U.S. citizen or Arizona resident in order to apply for federal financial aid and qualify for Arizona Teacher Academy funding, Theisen-Homer said. 

Applications are due by Jan. 7.

Interested applicants looking for more information are invited to a Dec. 7 webinar at 5:30 p.m.