The Urban Teacher Residency Model

Quality Standards for Effective Residencies

The UTRU Quality Standards identify, define and describe the six program elements essential to the design of a high-performing Urban Teacher Residency.

Position Papers

These documents provide an in-depth look at the development and design of the Urban Teacher Residency model.

From Willing To Able - Building Better Instructors From Inside The Classroom

Right now, roughly 50% of all urban public school teachers nationwide leave their positions in less than three years – not because they don’t want to teach, but because they’re not always ready.

By preparing a new kind of teacher inside the classroom – providing the practical learning, the hands-on experience and the support network they need to be effective right away – Urban Teacher Residency United (UTRU) and its local programs are building a real movement for education reform from the ground up.

Statistics show that 85% of all Residency graduates stay in their schools beyond those crucial first three years, reducing the high teacher turnover rates that cost districts millions and leave students in the dark.

Program Design

Giving Teachers the Tools to Make an Immediate Impact

The single biggest influence on student achievement is the quality of the teacher. It is an extensive focus on preparation that makes the Residency model different from any other program in education. From beginning to end, every aspect of the model is designed to provide teachers the knowledge, skills and disposition they need to make an immediate impact in the urban classroom — a difference every one of their students can feel.

Recruitment & Selection

Recruiting Residents

Through a highly selective recruitment process, Residencies attract a diverse group of talented college graduates, career changers and community members. This targeted effort is driven by the unique needs and goals of each school district partner. Special attention is paid to attracting teachers of color and teachers in high-need areas, such as math, science and special education.

Selecting Mentors

On a parallel path, Residencies select a cohort of experienced teachers within the district to be paired one-on-one with Residents for the duration of the school year. These expert mentors offer Residents a living, breathing model for success in the urban classroom. As the centerpiece of the Residency model, mentors receive ongoing support from the program to ensure the provision of time, resources and coaching skills necessary to lead an effective classroom apprenticeship.

The Residency Year

Residency programs offer a unique synthesis of theory and practice, combining a yearlong classroom apprenticeship with a carefully aligned sequence of master's-level coursework. Residents receive a stipend for living expenses throughout their training year, and a subsidized master's degree upon completion of the program.

Placement in Cohorts & Training Sites

Residents train as part of a cohort — a peer group that provides ongoing support and collaborative learning throughout the Residency year and beyond. At the beginning of the school year, groups of Residents are placed in high-need, high-functioning public schools for their apprenticeship experience. Residents also complete their coursework as a cohort.

A Yearlong Classroom Apprenticeship

Residents spend the full academic year in an urban public school, developing under the guidance of an experienced mentor teacher. Using a variety of coaching and conversation protocols, mentors provide valuable insight into effective teaching methodology, helping Residents develop the knowledge, skills and habits of mind that come from years of experience in the urban classroom. Over the course of the year, Residents move from a collaborative, co-teaching role in the classroom to an increasingly demanding, lead-teaching role.

Linking Theory to Practice

In addition to their hands-on work in the classroom, Residents engage in master’s-level education coursework designed to inform and enrich the apprenticeship experience. This deep blend of theory and practice makes the Residency model a unique route into teaching, helping participants draw meaningful connections between their daily classroom work and the latest in education theory and research.

You can pick out right away who the brand new teachers are - they're scared to death. The people who have just been through the Boston Teacher Residency program, they are at a whole different level. (Michelle Boyers, Head of Human Resources, Boston Public Schools)


Residency graduates commit to serving their district for at least three years after the completion of their apprenticeship. In return, they receive immediate assistance with job placement in one of the district’s schools, as well as access to an exemplary onsite induction program — one-on-one consultation that includes classroom observation and targeted feedback throughout their first two years of solo teaching.

Residency programs also boast an active alumni network — a group that values ongoing training and collaboration, and serves as an invaluable resource as graduates pursue further professional development. Many Residents go on to become mentors, principals and senior administrators in their schools, a benefit their continued commitment earns them.

The UTRU Network

With partner programs in a growing number of key cities and school districts, the UTRU Network is demonstrating the influence of the Residency model on a national scale.

More About The UTRU Network
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