By Kate Hirschboeck, Melissa Eiler White, Andrew Brannegan, and Frances Reade

The California Teacher Residency Grant Program provided essential, one-time funding to jump-start new and to expand existing teacher residencies, which are pathways into the teaching profession that integrate residents’ coursework with a yearlong placement in the classroom of an expert teacher.

In spring of 2021, WestEd collected data through the formative evaluation of the grant program in order to help understand how grantee programs were building toward financial sustainability within the context of their one-time funding sources. The findings outlined in the research brief, Teacher Residency Programs in California: Financial Sustainability Challenges and Opportunities, indicate that the financial sustainability of programs is a critical challenge to address. The researchers argue that in order to ensure the long-term success of California’s huge investment in teacher residencies, now is a crucial time to support residencies to engage in the intentional planning and partnership building that are key to financial sustainability.

The brief outlines four major challenges that emerged from the study data:

  1. A majority of residents report experiencing financial hardships during their residency year, and residents of color are disproportionately impacted.
  2. Most residency programs are offering district-based employment opportunities to residents (such as having them serve as substitute
    teachers, paraprofessionals, or tutors), but fewer than half of residents are participating in these opportunities.
  3. Most programs are not yet broadening their funding sources and strategies to enable financial sustainability beyond the grant program.
  4. Many programs could strengthen their partnerships with partner LEAs and build their internal capacity to support sustainability.

To solve these challenges, the authors outline a set of policy and practice recommendations for statewide leaders. To see the data and the recommendations, read the brief here.