Alliance for Education announces launch of secondary STEM teacher residency in four King County school districts

The Alliance for Education announced today that it has received funding to begin planning a new iteration of its innovative, nationally-recognized teacher residency.  The next phase will focus on training high school teachers specializing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in four south King County school districts.

A grant of $90,000 from  The Boeing Company is supporting AFE’s planning with Highline, Renton, Federal Way, and Tukwila School Districts for a STEM teacher residency in secondary schools.

“Our region is a hub for the technology, engineering, and aerospace industries, but a recent study found approximately 50,000 STEM related jobs will go unfilled in Washington state by 2017 because our students graduate without the skills needed to fill these jobs,” said Bill McSherry, vice president State and Local and Global Corporate Citizenship at The Boeing Company[1]. “Creating a pipeline of world-class STEM teachers will ensure that our kids are not left out as these industries continue to grow.”

In 2012, AFE launched Seattle Teacher Residency in partnership with Seattle Public Schools, the University of Washington College of Education, and the Seattle Education Association. The program has since become recognized nationally as a model urban teacher residency. The program intends to continue preparing teachers for high-need elementary and special education classrooms in Seattle schools.

“The residency approach translates into greater academic success for students, especially our highest-need students, as well as higher retention and job satisfaction rates for teachers,” said Highline Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield, an architect of the original program during her time in Seattle.  “We are thrilled to begin work bringing that kind of innovation to Highline classrooms.”

Originating in the cities of Denver, Boston, and Chicago, the residency model expands on traditional teacher preparation through an intensive one-year practicum experiences combined with university coursework throughout the year. Residents spend four days a week learning and working alongside an experienced mentor teacher for an entire school year. This work is supplemented by graduate-level coursework at the University of Washington. Residents commit to teaching for at least five years.

The model is centered on equity and social justice.  Residents learn and teach in high-poverty (Title I) schools where opportunity gaps are most prevalent. These opportunity gaps are especially prevalent in STEM pathways, as women make up only a quarter of the workforce, while people of color make up less than 20 percent.

“This model is designed to address the specific challenges of high-needs urban schools and to narrow the opportunity gap,” said Marisa Bier, STR Program Director. “With our focus on STEM, we’ll bring that mindset to new classrooms. In addition to narrowing that gap, we’ll also focus on getting more women and people of color interested in and adequately prepared for careers in STEM.  We are thrilled at the opportunity to learn and grow with new partners.”

Planning is underway, with resident recruitment scheduled to begin later in 2016. In addition to the support from The Boeing Company, other funders include the Bezos Family Foundation.


[1] “Has the Great Recession Raised U.S. Structural Unemployment?” 2011/Haver Analytics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics