The Rochester City School District (RCSD) announced its receipt of a $1.1 million grant from the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) on Wed., Sep. 20, 2023.
These funds, provided by NYSDOL’s Teacher Residency Program are to be used by RCSD for its “pioneering” ROC Urban Teaching Fellows Program (ROC UTF), according to the district.
ROC UTF was launched in Sep. of 2022 as a “teacher residency model which provides teacher training and seeks to improve retention, by offering aspiring educators hands-on classroom experience, employment, and mentorship,” RCSD says.
The money is anticipated to cover a portion of tuition and living expenses for a cohort of fellows enrolled in the program for the upcoming 2024 – 25 and 2025 – 26 school years at the University of Rochester (U-of-R) and Nazareth University.
The program functions like a medical residency. During their first year, teacher candidates work full-time in RCSD classrooms, side-by-side with experienced mentor teachers. Simultaneously, they pursue a master’s degree leading to initial NYS teacher certification. These fellows are enrolled in master’s programs at the U-of-R and Nazareth University, forging a partnership with those two highly regarded universities.
“This generous grant is a game-changer for our District,” said Dr. Carmine Peluso, Superintendent of Schools. “Not only does it allow us to provide crucial financial support to our fellows, covering a portion of their tuition and living expenses, it also opens doors for future educators to specialize in high-needs areas like teaching English to speakers of other languages and inclusive early childhood education. We are committed to nurturing a diverse and skilled teaching workforce that will positively impact the lives of our students.”
After successfully completing their first year of training, ROC Urban Teaching fellows receive offers of employment to continue teaching in RCSD in their own classrooms. This hands-on experience provides them with the necessary skills, confidence, and real-world understanding to excel as educators.
ROC UTF participants are required to commit to teaching for at least two years in RCSD after successfully completing the program.
Six teachers successfully completed the ROC UTF program during its inaugural year in 2022 – 23.
The program has expanded significantly this academic year, 2023 – 24 with the addition of New York University (NYU), and 19 fellows who are enrolled in graduate programs at either the U-of-R, Nazareth University, or NYU.
Participation in the ROC UTF program is based on a competitive application process.
Students must apply to either Nazareth, the U-of-R, or NYU’s graduate teaching programs first, and then through a complementary selection process for the ROC Urban Teaching Fellow Program.
Additional information about the program is available at RCSD’s Office of Human Capital Website, https://www.rcsdk12.org/Page/58447#urban.