New Teachers for Newark

Photo: Mike Peters

Krista Gras, a resident with the NMUTRP works with kindergarten children at the Maple Avenue School Annex in Newark.

Funded by a record-setting $6.3 million, five-year U.S. Department of Education (DOE) grant, the College of Education and Human Services’ Center of Pedagogy launched the Newark Montclair Urban Teacher Residency Program (NMUTRP) in February 2010 with the goal of preparing 100 new teachers for the Newark Public Schools.

Under the leadership of Program Director Rosemary Steinbaum, teacher residents are selected in a highly competitive admissions process. They participate in full-time, paid clinical apprenticeships with highly qualified mentor teachers already teaching in the Newark Public Schools. The residents also engage in rigorous coursework, learn about the city of Newark, and will intern with community organizations during the summer months.

“I am so proud that the College is the recipient of this prestigious grant to fund an Urban Teacher Residency Program in partnership with the Newark Public Schools,” says Ada Beth Cutler, dean of the College of Education and Human Services. “The program is well underway and our first teacher residents are doing beautifully. We look forward to the teacher residents becoming teachers who make a difference in the lives and futures of Newark’s students.”

Building on more than two decades of collaboration dedicated to preparing excellent teachers for high-need schools, through this program, the Newark Public Schools and Montclair State University seek to improve student achievement by coupling rigorous research-based teacher preparation with the concrete needs and realities of Newark Public Schools.

“Innovative strategies, such as this program, are the only hope that high-need districts will have in providing plausible, sustainable solutions to the problem of identifying and supporting teachers who possess content expertise and a willingness to teach in challenging academic environments,” notes Clifford B. Janey, State District Superintendent for Newark Public Schools.

Upon graduation, the students will earn a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT),with dual-certification in Early Childhood/Elementary and Teacher of Students with Disabilities, or with certification in K-12 subject matter in mathematics or a field of science. In return for their education and degree, once they graduate, the teachers must work in the Newark Public Schools for a minimum of three years.

Apart from the 100 new teachers Newark Public Schools will gain during the five years of the program, the NMUTRP will also benefit teachers who are already working in the district. The program provides extensive funding for professional development for current Newark Public Schools teachers and for induction support for all new Newark teachers. Thus the ultimate goal of the grant is to provide learning and support along the entire continuum of teacher development.

According to Cutler, the DOE grant was one of only 28 awarded in the nation in the first round of funding. “We are gratified to be recognized for our experience and expertise in preparing excellent teachers and we look forward to deepening our longstanding partnership with the Newark Public Schools through this project,” she says. “The Urban Teacher Residency Program represents the gold standard in teacher preparation.”

Jennifer Robinson, executive director of the College’s Center of Pedagogy, is the Principal Investigator for the grant. Partners include the College of Science and Mathematics, Newark Public Schools, and the Newark Teachers’ Union.