Boston Teacher Residency


Residency Program Redefines Teacher Preparation and Practice

Recently featured on PBS News Hour, Boston Teacher Residency is held up as an effective, scalable model of teaching in urban schools.

Last month, the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) was featured on PBS News Hour along with its founder, Jesse Solomon, executive director of BPE (formerly the Boston Plan For Excellence) and a class of 2009 Barr Fellow. The seven-minute PBS piece heralds BTR as a national model and innovative approach for recruiting, training, and retaining effective teachers for urban schools. It centers on a hopeful new BTR resident teacher in her first weeks of training in a Boston Public School.

Founded in 2003, BTR recruits, prepares, and helps retain high-quality teachers as a part of its central strategy to increase student achievement in urban areas.

Through an innovative clinical teacher preparation model, BTR residents work side-by-side with mentors in classrooms four days a week while completing master’s coursework. In doing so, they acquire both the theoretical foundation and practical skills to help them deliver high-quality instruction.

Compared to other teacher-training programs that require only a few weeks in the classroom, BTR offers extensive classroom training. As Renee Alves, resident at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School shares, “You can learn from a textbook, but I think it’s a lot different when you’re in a classroom and you’re seeing it in person.” Upon completion of the program, residents commit to teach in high-need schools in Boston for at least three years.

BTR has also refined its model based on student achievement data. It now focuses on creating a professional learning community by clustering residents in schools so they can naturally share and learn from one another. In addition, BTR created a new position called the “clinical teacher educator” to serve as both a classroom mentor and a professor in order to bridge theory with practice.

Finally, the model now includes a pathway of networked, student-centered schools called Teaching Academies. Inspired by the best teaching hospitals, Teacher Academies counter traditional teacher preparatory programs by creating schools that are designed to prepare residents to be great teachers within a coherent school structure.

The success of BTR has raised the bar on teacher preparatory programs; half of all BTR graduates are people of color and more than 70% of BTR’s graduates are still teaching in Boston after three years, compared to the national average of 50%.

The evolution and success of BTR is a testament to the hard work of its leadership, staff, residents, and alumni, who have dedicated themselves to serving students in urban schools. It has been Barr’s pleasure and privilege to support them over this journey of learning and impact.

BPE’s mission is to drive exceptional outcomes for all students by developing great teachers and great schools. For three decades, BPE (formerly the Boston Plan for Excellence) has devised solutions to the toughest challenges faced by Boston’s students and teachers by weaving together expertise in teacher training and school development.


To build the organization’s capacity to run schools, expand its presence in the Dudley neighborhood, and develop high-quality teachers for Boston Public Schools.

  • Award Date: 6/12/2013
  • Amount: $5,000,000
  • Term: 72 months
  • Program: Education
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Cindy Lung

Former Program Associate, Education