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Partnership with SCCPSS to provide paid residency opportunities for select Georgia Southern teacher candidates

Exceptional teacher candidates studying in Georgia Southern University’s College of Education (COE) will soon have the opportunity to apply for a paid residency program with Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) starting as early as Fall 2020. 

With nearly 3,000 teachers in the Chatham County’s public school system, SCCPSS hires 400 new teachers per year on average. The opportunity to bring in highly qualified teacher candidates during their final year of an initial educator preparation program will help to fill positions needed by the county while also building relationships with the teacher candidates for possible retention in the school district.

“Two teacher candidates will be hired as resident teachers to fill two vacant teacher positions,” said Deborah Thomas, Ph.D., associate dean for curriculum, instruction and initial educator preparation. “Each will be paid $19,000 for the year and receive all the benefits of a regular teacher. A classroom educator who has demonstrated exemplary performance in teaching and in mentoring other teachers will step out of the classroom to be a full-time mentor to the two teacher residents. The mentor teacher will support the teacher residents in learning district and school policies and procedures, co-teach with them in their classrooms, observe them teaching and provide feedback, as well as provide ongoing mentoring and support throughout the year.”

The teacher residents and mentors will also receive support from a Georgia Southern faculty member. As resident teachers in the school, the program participants will participate in the SCCPSS new teacher induction program, providing them an additional layer of guidance. While completing their residency, teacher candidates will finish all program courses and requirements for Georgia teacher certification.

“It’s a win-win for all involved,” Thomas said. “The teacher residents will receive a salary and benefits for work they would have to do anyway with no compensation. The mentor teachers are able to move into a teacher-leader role and have a direct impact on the professional development of new teachers. SCCPSS and the COE are able to strengthen their partnership and collaboration to develop a pipeline of exceptional teachers for the district.” 

Successful teacher candidates and SCCPSS classroom teachers who apply for the program will be selected by a team jointly representing SCCPSS and COE.

“SCCPSS is excited to be working alongside Georgia Southern University on the Paid Residency Initiative,” said Heather Bilton, Ed.D., director of human resources at SCCPSS. “We have been watching residency programs around the country and have been impressed at the quality of the teacher candidates and the support given to new teachers. We know our partnership will have a positive impact on students and the teaching profession.” 

The goal is to begin a paid residency pilot program in the fall with a small number of Georgia Southern teacher candidates. Opportunities will eventually be available for birth-to-kindergarten, elementary and middle, and secondary education teacher candidates. 

“Often our students say that they get their best practice and experience in the field,” Thomas noted. “This will only enhance the hands-on clinical practice of students who have shown exceptional academic and classroom practice prior to their final year of study.”


Posted in Community Outreach & Partnership, Degree Programs

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