Framingham State Receives $74,855 Planning Grant from AmeriCorps to Launch a Teacher Residency Program within Framingham Public Schools

Framingham State Receives $74,855 Planning Grant from AmeriCorps to Launch a Teacher Residency Program within Framingham Public Schools

Oct 28, 2021

Framingham State University (FSU) is partnering with Framingham Public Schools (FPS) and the National Center for Teacher Residencies to develop a new residency program that will guide applicants from bilingual and underrepresented backgrounds toward teaching careers at the early, elementary, or secondary level. 

A teacher residency program is a hands-on learning experience that embeds a candidate in a school district with a professional mentor and academic coursework that is directly related to their classroom experience. It is similar to the model used in the medical profession.

Planning for the residency program, which aims to launch in Fall 2022 with an initial cohort of 15-20 candidates, is being funded through a $74,855 grant from AmeriCorps and the Massachusetts Service Alliance. The grant will cover 65 percent of the cost of the effort, while the remaining 35 percent will be covered by FSU and FPS through in-kind funds totaling $39,870. The ultimate goal is to apply for a three-year grant from AmeriCorps for $1 million to fund the effort, including stipends for teacher candidates during their student teaching practicum and related coursework.

"The planning grant is a major vote of confidence from AmeriCorps that enables us to partner with the National Center for Teacher Residencies," says FSU English Professor Kelly Matthews, who co-authored the grant application with Education Professor Wardell Powell and Framingham Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Joseph Corazzini. "AmeriCorps will assist us in writing the larger three-year grant proposal."

In Massachusetts, the public school teacher workforce is 89 percent white, while students of color make up 42.1 percent of the state’s public school population, according to data provided by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Yet many people of color face systemic barriers to attaining Massachusetts teacher licensure at the Initial level, including the financial cost of paying college tuition for teacher preparation coursework during an unpaid practicum experience in a K-12 classroom.

"Our planning proposal aims to directly address these barriers," says Matthews.

At Framingham Public Schools, more than 80 percent of the teachers are white, despite the fact that white students make up less than 50 percent of the population.

"The goal for us in this effort is to cultivate more bilingual and diverse teachers who can be placed within the school district," says Corazzini.

Powell, who specializes in teaching science to marginalized communities, says research demonstrates that students of color have better outcomes when teachers can tap into their lived experiences.

"The K-12 systems are becoming more and more diverse, however it isn’t translating into the diversification of the teaching workforce," he says.

The Residency Program will be open to undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students, according to Powell. The program will be an option for current FSU students, as well as paraprofessionals within public school systems interested in advancing to full teaching roles, and members of the broader community who may have an interest in teaching.

Candidates who successfully complete the residency program can expect teaching opportunities within Framingham Public Schools.

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.