The Attallah College of Educational Studies’ Thompson Policy Institute on Disability (TPI) was awarded a nearly $420,000 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to support the state’s rollout of teacher residency programs. In partnership with state and national education partners, TPI is providing ongoing virtual and face-to-face technical assistance and resources to local education agencies (LEAs) and institutes of higher education (IHEs) to help develop high-quality clinical residencies.

California Teacher Residency Lab

Prompted by an infusion of $75 million in funds from the California State Department of Education, the California Teacher Residency Lab was developed by a collation of state and national organizations, including the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, WestEd, National Center for Teacher Residencies, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to help LEAs and IHEs develop and scale their teacher residencies programs.

A key provider in the California Teacher Residency Lab, TPI is helping residency teams incorporate research-based best practices as the state scales up special education, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and bilingual teacher residencies.

TPI’s Associate Director and Principal Investigator Audri Gomez, Ph.D., explained that teacher candidates completing the residency model will be better prepared to serve all students.

“This is a more comprehensive program than traditional student teaching. Teacher candidates will learn all the facets of the teaching profession, understanding school culture and the duties beyond the classroom,” said Dr. Gomez. “They are learning on the job to become professional teachers.”

Teacher residencies are formulated to model best practices. Through a combination of co-teaching and mentorships, the goal is help novices learn to teach diverse learners and be student-ready on day one.

“This is a unique opportunity for TPI to partner with the state of California and the Gates Foundation in supporting this transformational initiative to professionalize teacher education,” said Dr. Gomez.

Technical Assistance Provider

Eighteen teacher residency partnerships from across California have committed to the long-term work needed to successfully implement teacher residency programs. Each partnership consists of a team that will participate in “learning community convenings” throughout the year.

TPI along with its state and national partners are technical assistance providers, supplying these teams virtual and face-to-face support for the entire duration of the Gates Foundation grant. TPI’s grant partners include the California Alliance for Inclusive Schooling (CAIS), the CEEDAR Center at the University of Florida, and the SWIFT Education Center at the University of Kansas.

“We support all the facilitators, working one-on-one with the teams, working together to be sure that research-based practices are being incorporated as they roll out and scale up their efforts,” said TPI Director Don Cardinal, Ph.D.

The multi-organizational initiative behind the California Teacher Residency Lab includes efforts to collect, analyze, and use formative and outcome data for continuous improvement. A sustainable teacher residency model must ensure equitable access for all students. Thus, TPI sees this as an important element in its broader mission to remove barriers facing students with disabilities and support the statewide trend toward inclusive education and a multitiered system of support in schools.

“I am thrilled to see the success of the Thompson Policy Institute lead by Drs. Cardinal and Gomez. Their research has a tremendous impact on important community issues,” said Chapman University’s Vice President for Research Thomas Piechota.


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