Arizona creates residency program to address teacher shortage

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A new program has been created to address Arizona’s continuing teacher shortage. Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman, recently announced that the program will be a teacher residency similar to “medical” residencies for aspiring MD’s. Dr. Victoria Theisen-Homer is the Director of the Arizona Teacher Residency Program.

“It helps a lot to have a mentor guide you through the experience before you begin practicing on your own so the idea is that these aspiring teachers will be placed in a classroom of an experienced mentor, their supervising teacher, who will support them to slowly ramp up their responsibility for an entire year prior to becoming a teacher of record in their own classroom,” Theisen-Homer said.

This residency takes up one year of the two year masters’ teaching program, where they will be a teacher of record their second year. Every aspiring teacher will receive a $15,000 stipend during the residency.

“In the first year our teachers are place din one of our partner districts and when they’re placed in the district they are agreeing to stay in that district for three years after their residency year. They’re committing to these particular districts. Our initial districts are going to be elementary districts in the Phoenix are, we haven’t announced them yet but we are hoping to be able to do that soon,” Theisen-Homer said.

A bachelor’s degree of any subject area is required to enroll in this program, and Theisen-Homer also said they are considering a GPA requirement and other qualifications as well.

Theisen-Homer says they are hoping to get the application up and running in the next month or so, and it will be a multi-pronged application process.  Four hundred people have already signed up to learn more about the program, according to Theisen-Homer.

Dr. Victoria Theisen-Homer, Director, Arizona Teacher Residency

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