- Prospective teachers in New York City could receive a stipend for housing in addition to intense mentoring as part of a proposed year-long residency program that would target as many as 1,000 beginning educators and match them with mentor-teachers, New York Daily News reports.
- The program would be intended to stem the tide of teachers who are leaving the classroom. According to a report by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, 41% of teachers hired to teach in the New York City Department of Education in the 2012-13 academic year were no longer teaching within five years and, in the 2017-18 school year, 20% of all teachers with fewer than five years’ experience left the classroom.
- The program would also benefit mentor teachers who would receive a salary hike under the proposal for working with beginning teachers. Stringer estimates the proposal would cost about $40 million a year.
While high teacher turnover rates are a problem across the nation, some districts struggle more than others because of circumstances specific to their region, whether it be the isolation of rural conditions, the challenges of teaching in high-poverty schools or a housing market that makes it nearly impossible for teachers to afford to live. High teacher turnover not only creates headaches for school leaders who are constantly having to hire replacements, ibut t is a costly process and one that affects student achievement, experts say.
School districts located in areas with high housing costs have tried various ways of addressing the housing issue so that teachers can find housing solutions within a reasonable distance to their classroom and become a part of the community where they serve. In some high-priced tech hub areas, school districts own property that they use to create affordable apartments or housing units for teachers. In the past, New York City has worked to address the issue by using teacher pension funds to purchase property to provide some affordable housing solutions and offering a limited number of subsidized housing units for teachers.
Under the new proposal, teachers would receive a stipend that would allow them to look for their own housing solutions. But because it's a residency program, the participants would also receive mentoring. Teacher residency programs are gaining traction as schools are seeing the value of increased support and extra instruction in the early years of teaching. Some studies suggest that these increased levels of support can be effective in retaining teachers for the long run. According to an EdSource article, one study found that “92% of teachers assigned a mentor their first year returned the next year, and 86% were on the job by the fifth year. Only 84 percent of teachers without mentors returned in the second year, declining to 71 percent in the fifth year.”
These mentoring programs have the added benefit of allowing experienced teachers to serve in leadership positions without leaving the classroom, which improves teacher retention. A similar initiative called the Teacher Career Pathways program is showing success in New York City and the Opportunity Culture program is being used in multiple parts of the country to accomplish similar goals. Experts say that by providing excellent teachers with the opportunity to advance in their careers while remaining in the classroom, they are more likely to stay engaged in education, to share their valuable skills with teachers who are new to the profession, and to improve student achievement in the process.