The University of Denver Morgridge College of Education (MCE) and Denver Public Schools (DPS) today announced the creation of a pilot teacher education program aimed at placing highly trained educators in some of the most highly impacted schools in the Denver metro area.

The DPS Urban Teacher Fellowship (UTF) program will position selected teacher candidates in highly impacted schools and provide them with the support necessary to both learn and thrive. UTF students will receive their graduate training as part of the University of Denver (DU) Teacher Education Program, and will complete their one-year teacher residency in selected schools within DPS.

“At a time when fewer and fewer college students are choosing to pursue a career in education and more and more K-12 students need great teachers, we are excited to launch a new program that we hope will serve as the model for future programs,” Dr. Karen Riley, MCE Dean says.

As a pilot program, DU and DPS will partner to evaluate the success of the model, collaborative partnership, and the transferability to other areas and program providers across the district. The UTF program is consistent with national trends in teacher residency programs in which the coursework is provided by the higher education partner and the field placements are designed and supported by the district. The program will be co-developed by the two partners in keeping with best practices creating new opportunities for collaboration between the two organizations.

“Nationally, over the last 10 years, teacher residency programs have evolved and grown,” said Laney Shaler, DPS Director of Teacher Pathways & Development. “We are excited to take what we have learned through our previous partnership with DU and apply the framework to this new program that will both extend the partnership and serve as the foundation for expanded pre-service training experiences in DPS.”

The UTF program will replace the existing Denver Teacher Residency (DTR) program which was co-developed between DU and DPS nearly a decade ago to meet the critical challenge of filling vacancies in highly impacted schools and hiring candidates who reflect the students the district serves. Since then, 350 teachers have been trained through DTR in a model of joint operation between DPS and DU. Eight cohorts of residents have confirmed the value of residency as a productive way to prepare teachers.

“I see this new partnership as taking our existing partnership to the next level. It allows us to strengthen our collective efforts to train a diverse teacher corps and serve teacher candidates with relevant on-the-job training opportunities,” Dr. Karen Riley says.

The pilot UTF program represents the next phase in the longstanding DU/DPS partnership committed to finding innovative ways to ensure highly trained educators are available to all students in the DPS district. The first UTF student cohort will begin in fall 2018.

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