UNM-based teacher residency program grows, applications open for next cohort – UNM Newsroom | Team Cansler

It started with 10 teachers being paid just $15,000 a year. Now dozens of future educators have enrolled in UNM’s College of Education and Human Sciences (COEHS) in Albuquerque and District Partner Teacher Residencies (APTR and DPTR) and are earning more than double.

before this immersive program received a huge boost from the last legislative session and was funded by grants from the National Center for Teacher Residencies and Albuquerque Public Schools (APS).

The APS teacher residency offered a full year of preparation in a K-12 APS classroom, a designated co-teacher, and a guaranteed placement and probationary period within APS for three years. First of all, this brings a whole new level of dedication, according to Director of Residencies Marjori Krebs.

“If you got through the three years because you made that commitment, you end up staying because you found your passion in teaching — if we do our job right,” Krebs said.

While the professional development was second to none, the salaries were.

“In most professions, except for teachers, you get paid for the time you work in the field. They are told to quit their jobs or have no way of supporting themselves while working full-time as student teachers in schools,” she said.

Eventually, slowly but surely, the experiences of each cohort resulted in 54 ATRP alumni being positively retained in Albuquerque schools. Despite some layoffs, this was an overall retention rate of 77% over four years.

The heads of state noticed that, Krebs believes.

“I think state legislators have seen our success and retention rate and heard positive feedback about how well prepared residents who wanted to be teachers are,” she said.

However, everything changed in March 2022, when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 13.

“The funding from the state is a game changer,” she said. “The funding has allowed us to expand teacher training across the state and provide significant bursaries for career changers to enter the profession.”

teachers residents learn

This bill brought the government support Krebs had been seeking since its inception.

Teachers who complete the residencies could now earn a $35,000 stipend. Not only them, but guest teachers, principals and participating higher education institutions have been added to make this a reality.

Non-resident student teachers are now eligible for a $10,450 non-binding scholarship during their final full-time semester as a student teacher.

Interest grew not just in New Mexico, but across the country. 10 people even came from abroad to take advantage of this opportunity. There are also now eight higher education institutions in New Mexico that are accepting teachers.

“To me, that’s very representative of when you’re helping people become teachers, which is breaking down a barrier to getting people into the profession,” Krebs said. “Work for a year without income is a barrier.”

Armed with the necessary funding, more participating teachers and institutions, and attention, the APTR has been transformed into the DPTR—now up to six area districts and charter schools are participating this year.

“The state of New Mexico has stepped up its game when it comes to funding teacher preparation.” – Residence manager Marjori Krebs

Teachers can now grow with students in classrooms outside of APS, including Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, and Bernalillo Public Schools. There are now a total of 65 partner teachers in the district spread across the state.

Other districts are also expressing interest, with Aztec Schools requesting 10 residents, half of whom specialize in special education.

The filling of these positions in the special school classes and in the mathematical and scientific classes of the secondary school is of particular importance. There is also an urgent need for bilingual teachers at all levels.

“Students in these specialized admissions areas need more support and diverse support,” she said. “We hope to really draw attention to this and bring people into the profession who have a heart for working with children at all levels.”

The overall boost for applicants cannot be overstated. That’s because the role of educators is being fulfilled in New Mexico and the world at large is vital to the future.

“There is no other career that has such a long-term impact on an individual,” Krebs said. “The only way to have qualified employees and managers in the country is through well-educated citizens. The only path to well-educated citizens is strong home support and excellent teachers to help them find their way. If we want a strong industry, we need great teachers to prepare these people.”

Krebs is working with the seven other participating higher education institutions to propose a bill that would include recurring funding for the program. That way, she says, the grants are guaranteed each year, and the path to APTR and DPTR can flourish.

“With recurring residency funding, we could speak to these students as seniors and say what’s ahead at UNM,” Krebs said. “We can build a pipeline and support these people throughout the four years of their program if they know who they are as a freshman, rather than having to be notified of funding in April and having to look for people.”

Learn more about the teacher residency program and its many benefits and how to apply on the COEHS website. Applications are due by February 15 or until permit area applications are satisfied by districts.

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