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Federally Funded Program Keeps Teachers in Newark Public Schools

1-27-12

Urban school districts often find it difficult to keep teachers from leaving after a short period of time. The Newark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency Program is trying to change that. The federally funded initiative that started in 2010 educates students at Montclair State University while having them teach classes in the Newark public school system. The students agree to remain in the Newark schools for at least three years after graduating with a master’s degree.

The program receives a five-year, $6.3 million grant from the federal government to operate. The grant covers tuition at Montclair State and the students also receive a living stipend up to $39,000. There are 27 similar programs operating in other states.

Officials say they hope the program can keep good teachers in the urban district while those participating in the program say the support in the classroom is critical and a major reason why teachers often leave urban districts. One teacher who recently graduated from the residency program says she likes the fact that teachers are in the school system for an entire year instead of a short, three-month student teaching period.

NJToday’s Lauren Wanko files this report from Newark.

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Program directors hope acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and other will find ways to extend and expand the resident program beyond the life of the grant, which expires in 2014.