As school districts struggle with teacher shortages, some schools are finding innovative and incentivized ways to address the challenge and create their own teacher pipeline.
Bright Star Schools — a tuition-free charter public school network serving high-need communities across Los Angeles, including South L.A., Koreatown and northeast San Fernando Valley — and Alder Graduate School of Education recently launched a teacher residency program offering instructional assistants an opportunity to earn a master’s degree and teaching credential in one year.
“We are thrilled to offer a Bright Star Schools’ Alder Teacher Residency to boost career development for our instructional assistants,” says Hrag Hamalian, executive director at Bright Star Schools. “We’re aiming for residents with a focus on middle and high school in the critical and high-need specialized areas of special education, science and math. The residency is an innovative and affordable way to become a teacher with Bright Star Schools.”
The residency costs $20,000. To help students help pay for tuition, Bright Star Schools offers residents a full-time $30,240 annual salary, plus vision, dental and health benefits, as well as a sign-on bonus if they choose to stay with the network beyond completion of their master’s degree. Once the residency is completed, graduates are given priority hiring at Bright Star Schools and offered a starting base salary of $61,276, plus health benefits, for the 2023-24 school year. Teacher residents also have access to state and federal grants, financial and academic support.
Once accepted into the program, residents apprentice four days a week with an experienced mentor teacher at a Bright Star school. Through a gradual release model, residents slowly take on lead teaching responsibilities throughout the year, including once-per-month “takeover days” when their mentors attend seminars.
“I appreciate the paid position that allows me to teach, learn and earn a teaching credential and master’s degree at the same time,” says Rosie Somoundjian, a second-grade teacher in residence at Valor Academy Elementary School. Alder and Bright Star Schools make sure that residents are supported and have everything we need to be successful, including offering great hands-on experience.”
Mentor teachers receive a $3,000 stipend, as well as coaching training and support from Alder through monthly seminar and co-observation cycles with a director.
Applications for the 2023-24 school year are due Feb. 3. For more information, visit Bright Star Schools’ Alder Teacher Residency. You can also contact Natalie Cooke, associate director of recruitment, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bright Star Schools at 323-954-9957.