Across the UNC System, undergrad enrollment in education prep programs is down 43% since 2010.
In 2018, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools launched the CMS Teaching Residency to test the concept of a school district serving as an authorized teacher licensing entity. Now a formal talent strategy, over 400 teacher candidates have completed the program.
MORE ABOUT CMS TEACHING RESIDENCY
The CMS Teaching Residency (CMSTR) is an affordable pathway to the teaching profession for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree. Since 2018, CMS has recruited teaching residents from all corners of Charlotte – from paraprofesionals who already work in classrooms to experienced professionals from other fields.
Being district run, CMSTR uses realtime data to inform their recruitment efforts to areas of critical need, such as middle and high school STEM and EC teachers. CMSTR training is six weeks over the summer, followed by a year of supervised teaching. Additionally, residents must pass state-required exams.
“The beauty of this program is that we have the ability to continuously improve and redesign the program to meet the needs of the district and the educators, based on trends throughout the district and stakeholder feedback,” said Shannon Stehmeier, Director of CMSTR.
The program has a strong emphasis on recruiting candidates of color and increasing the percentage of educators of color in CMS. Currently, the CMS teacher workforce is about two-thirds white, while only a quarter of the students are white. Exposure to teachers of one's own race is beneficial in the short and long term for students of color (in some cases reducing dropout rates by 50%) and experiences with diverse teachers are valuable for all students.
“Over the last four years, we have not only retained a high percentage of teachers, we have seen them grow into teacher leaders in their buildings as well as rejoining the program as CMS Teaching Residency part-time staff,” added Stehmeier. “This shows the commitment these educators have to ensuring future CMS students continue to have high quality teachers.”
Since 2020, The Belk Foundation has invested $150,000 in CMSTR.