Texas A&M University’s College of Education and Human Development has reached a new three-year partnership with Spring Independent School District to address a national challenge – preparing teachers to transition into and thrive within urban schools.
Launching in Fall 2016, the Urban Student Teacher Advanced Residency (U-STAR) is a yearlong clinical teaching experience providing pre-service teachers with professional and cultural experiences in urban schools and communities.
“U-STAR is an intervention but more importantly an opportunity to collectively rethink, research and reorganize teacher preparation for urban and diverse schools,” explained Dr. Marlon James, Co-director of the Collaborative for Advancing Urban School Excellence. “U-STAR represents a true innovation in that it brings together the practical, theoretical, experiential and research expertise of communities, schools and the university to support the development of teachers.”
Dr. Norvella Carter, Endowed Chair of Urban Education asserted “we need U-STAR to address the realities that seven out of 10 teachers get their first job in an urban or diverse district. Fewer than 50 percent of those teachers are still in those districts after five years because they were not prepared for that reality.”
“We’re not asking for normalcy. This is not a program for a student that wants to be normal. We know that, with the proper support structures, the students can succeed and thrive in these urban districts,” said Dr. James. “There remains pressing challenges in preparing teachers for the diversity of American schools. U-STAR provides a unique opportunity to research and re-theorize teacher preparation in real-world settings.”
Clinical teaching students will spend one year with Spring ISD teachers, staff and administrators gaining experience in the many facets of a school district from teaching to human resources. They will spend four days a week in the classroom working with teachers and students and one day on the Texas A&M campus taking their required courses. Students will also take part in Spring ISD’s new teacher orientation, professional development and after school and community programming.
Upon completion of the residency, U-STAR clinical teachers will be considered as top candidates for full-time teaching positions within Spring ISD. As part of the U-STAR program, faculty at Texas A&M and administrators at Spring ISD will continue to provide professional development experiences during the first year of teaching.
About Spring ISD
Spring ISD serves nearly 37,000 PK-12 students in a diverse and growing district north of downtown Houston. The district’s strategic plan, EVERY CHILD 2020, outlines an unwavering commitment to helping every child have exactly what they need to get where they want to go in school and life.