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Two Nashville teacher residencies selected to partner with national center

Two new Nashville teacher preparation programs will receive guidance from the National Center for Teacher Residencies as part of a federal grant to prepare and recruit educators.

Project Renaissance’s Nashville Teacher Residency and Belmont University’s Metro Nashville Urban Teacher Residency each will receive $500,000 from the center and participate in its new site development program.

The Nashville programs’ selection highlights Tennessee’s role in the changing teacher preparation landscape, in which would-be teachers increasingly are paired with teacher-mentors and academic coursework is combined with student teaching. Residencies are becoming more common both in university and alternative programs nationwide and are being examined as Tennessee education leaders seek to improve teacher education across the state.

The Nashville residencies were two of four programs chosen from a pool of 16 national applicants. The others were the McCormick Teacher Residency in South Carolina and the New Schools for New Orleans residency.

The Nashville programs are also now linked with Memphis Teacher Residency, one of Tennessee’s most established teacher residency programs. As a demonstration site for the National Center for Teacher Residencies, Memphis Teacher Residency serves as a model for other residencies and university programs.

Nashville Teacher’s Residency, or NTR, launched this spring through Project Renaissance after the State Board of Education changed Tennessee policy to allow an institution with fewer than three years of financial audits to grant teaching licenses.  Project Renaissance, which is co-led by former Tennessee Charter School Center leader Justin Testerman and State Board member Wendy Tucker, was only launched last year. Now NTR has 15 residents who will begin teaching when the school year starts next month. NTR was designed and will be led by Randall Lahann, a member of the founding team of the Match Teacher Residency in Boston.

Belmont’s program will welcome its first cohort next summer. Unlike NTR, it will grant residents a master’s degree in teaching at the end of the year-long program.

Both Nashville programs have ties to heavy hitters in Tennessee education. Project Renaissance was founded by former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. The Metro Nashville Urban Teacher Residency offers a Master’s of Teaching at Belmont University, where teachers include Nashville’s former school director Jesse Register and former charter schools director Alan Coverstone.

The partnerships are part of ongoing work of the National Center for Teacher Residencies for the U.S. Department of Education’s Supporting Effective Educator Development Grant program known as SEED, which awarded the center with $11.7 million last year to help support great teaching.

“NCTR is excited to spend the next two years leading these partnerships to launch and scale strong, effective residencies,” said Anissa Listak, the center’s CEO. “Each partner demonstrates the skill and the will to examine how they can better prepare new teachers to work in high need schools.”