The mission of the Teacher Residency Program is to provide college graduates with an alternate route to elementary certification based on a residency model that focuses on recruiting, preparing and retaining teachers of color in elementary schools in Connecticut.
We prepare quality teacher candidates to create opportunities for all children and transform schools to be diverse and inclusive environments.
Support statewide teacher shortage and MTR goals by annually increasing the number of teachers of color by 15 teachers per site.
To add quality certification pathways that minimizes barriers and maximizes success in 2 additional endorsement areas.
To make a significant contribution to the CSDE state goal by expanding programming to 7 additional sites in Connecticut.
To secure state, district and private funding to support fidelity of the residency model and commitment to teachers of color.
To secure a university partner or status to provide residents a pathway with earned credit towards a Masters degree.
Marlene Megos, Director of the Teacher Residency Program, provides leadership, passion and drive to increase diversity in Connecticut’s teaching force. Marlene began this work in 2017, while serving as the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning for CREC’s 16 award-winning magnet schools. She co-chaired the Steering Committee that developed the Teacher Residency Program and brought forward the application to the Connecticut State Department of Education. She not only understood the need for more diversity of thought in teaching from this role, but also from her early days as a student in a diverse community. Similar to today, her teachers in Meriden, the town where she grew up, were largely white. Marlene has a B.S. in mathematics from Central Connecticut State University and a M.A. from Wesleyan University. She went on to earn her sixth-year certificate in Leadership and Administration from Sacred Heart University. Marlene is a longtime Connecticut resident and currently lives in the Greater Hartford area with her twin daughters Morgan and Avery.
Ushawnda Mitchell, Coordinator of the CREC Teacher Residency Program, has experienced the need for diverse teachers from a different perspective. As an elementary school student, she had all white teachers until sixth grade. Her sixth grade teacher, Ms. Smith, was firm but caring and made her want to do well. It’s because of Ms. Smith that Ushawnda is in the education field today. Ushawnda earned her Bachelors at Bay Path College, a Masters of Education in Reading and Language Arts from the University of Saint Joseph and a Sixth Year Certificate in Educational Leadership (Intermediate Administration & Supervision 092 Certification) at Central Connecticut State University. She has 15 years of teaching experience and started with CREC as a teacher at the CREC Museum Academy in 2014. Ushawnda is passionate about diversity and inclusion in the classroom and is excited to make this program a success.
In 2017, CREC recognized that:
In Connecticut 42% of students were children of color but only 8% of educators were teachers of color.
Research shows the impact of teachers of color in the classroom includes reduced dropout rates, improved college admissions, and achievement gains for all students.
The Connecticut Department of Education’s Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force set a goal to hire 1,000 black and Latino teachers and school leaders before 2021.
In CREC schools, 79.95% of students are children of color and/or Hispanic/Latino, while only 13.5% of CREC educators are teachers of color and/or Hispanic/Latino.
To address the lack of diverse staff, CREC created an alternate route to elementary certification that not only eliminates some of the common barriers to certification, but also equips candidates with the experiences and skills necessary to be highly effective teachers. This program is based on a residency model which identifies and prepares college graduates through extensive coursework and residency in a mentor teacher’s classroom.
After piloting this program in 2019, CREC joined with the RESC Alliance to create a statewide solution to meet the broader needs of Connecticut’s districts. Today, through a deliberate partnership with the RESCs and districts, we are prepared to change the quality, experience and diversity of our teachers.
Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) Magnet Schools is an intentionally diverse social justice organization whose members work to acknowledge, respect, and empathize with people of all different identifiers, such as race, socioeconomic status, gender identity and expression, education, age, ability, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, language, nationality, and religion.
Research supports that Increasing Diversity:
Improves the experiences for students of all racial backgrounds
Decreases drop-out rates for low income students
Decreases discipline actions for students of color
Increases expectations for all students
Increases student achievement
Creates a role model effect
Sources: Diversifying the Teaching Profession: How to Recruit and Retain Teachers of Color and Why We Need a Diverse Workforce
How Teachers of Color Can Make a Difference in the Classroom and Beyond
Black Teachers Improve Outcomes for Black Students
Want to Support Black Students? Invest in Black Teachers
Increasing Diversity Among Connecticut Teachers
Navigating the Road to Equitable Access
Resources for Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining Teachers of Color
Edutopia recently posted a study that found Black students that had a single Black teacher were 13% more likely to enroll in college. With two Black teachers, the number jumped to 33%. Having a Black teacher also cut high school dropout rates by 39% from low income families (Gershenson, et.al., 2018).
Learning Policy Institute article called Diversifying the Teaching Profession: How to Recruit and Retain Teachers of Color written by Desiree Carver-Thomas and published on April 19, 2018 shares the following evidence of need: (1) Teachers of color boost the academic performance of students of color, including improved reading and math test scores, improved graduation rates, and increases in aspirations to attend college. (2) Students of color and White students report having positive perceptions of their teachers of color, including feeling cared for and academically challenged. (3) Greater diversity of teachers may mitigate feelings of isolation, frustration, and fatigue that can contribute to individual teachers of color leaving the profession when they feel they are alone.
© 2020 Capitol Region Education Council Teacher Residency Program