What is the difference between the two pathways in the Residency program?

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In the General Education pathway, Residents are placed in General Education classrooms. About halfway through the program, Residents decide what their second endorsement choice will be: English Language Learners (ELL) or Special Education (SpEd). For General Education Residents’ second endorsement, they need to pass the WEST-E for either Special Education or ELL This is typically taken during their second summer quarter to then be dual endorsed at the start of your 1st year teaching.

 

In the SpEd pathway, Residents take the same foundational coursework as General Education residents, but they are placed in a SpEd classroom for their residency experience. They also front-load some of their graduate coursework, take a Special Education Seminar class with UW coursework, and commit to working as a SpEd teacher upon completion of the STR program. SpEd pathway Residents will have a second endorsement in Elementary Education. For Special Education Residents’ second endorsement, they need to pass the WEST-E for Elementary Education/NES Elementary Education Subtests I and II to then be dual endorsed at the start of your 1st year teaching.

When does the Residency program start and end?

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The 14-month Residency program starts in summer (June) and ends the following summer (August).

What does a Resident’s schedule look like?

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During the summer quarters, Residents are taking UW coursework all day Monday through Friday.

During the academic school year, a Resident is at their school placement all day Monday through Thursday. All day Fridays will be reserved for UW Coursework with their cohort, coaches and instructors. Coursework may be held on Wednesday evenings as Wednesdays are SPS’ early release days.

Residents will follow the Seattle Public Schools’ calendar for breaks and holidays but will follow the 5 quarter system for their graduate coursework with UW.

What type of time commitment is required by the Residency program?

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The Residency program is full time and very intensive. During the 14-month program, residents are immersed in a combination of graduate level coursework and fieldwork at their placement schools. The time commitment during the school year can be up to 12 hours per day on days there is Wednesday evening coursework. Working outside of the program is not encouraged and has proven difficult for most residents.

However, we want to prioritize your physical and mental health as these are important elements of the work of transformational justice in schools and communities. If during the Residency program you are feeling overwhelmed or sick or need assistance with coursework, we have coaches and mentors to support you!

From what institution do Residents earn their Master’s degree?

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Residents earn their Master’s in Teaching (MIT) degree from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Where is coursework held?

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Frequently, instructors arrange for graduate coursework to take place at partner schools in SPS and are held in common spaces – UW’s College of Education, extra classrooms at SPS, Othello Commons, libraries, etc.  The UW faculty is committed to blending theory and practice in this program, and by hosting coursework at a school site, Residents are given the opportunity to observe and practice instructional activities with elementary aged students under supervision and guidance from instructors.

What does my teacher certification look like at the end of the program?

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Graduates of the STR program are eligible for a Washington State Residency Certificate.  This certificate includes an endorsement in Elementary Education (K-8).  Residents in the STR program are required to add a second endorsement – their choice of English Language Learners or Special Education for General Education pathway Residents or Elementary Education endorsement for Special Education pathway Residents.  Typically, the second endorsement is granted after completing a state required practicum during the fall of your first year teaching and completion of the corresponding WEST-E test in Special Education or ELL.

What grade levels do Residents work with?

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The STR program is focused on Kindergarten through 5th grade elementary teacher preparation.  During the residency year, Residents are partnered with a Mentor teacher in a K-5 classroom or a K-5 Special Education classroom.

How are residents matched with Mentor teachers?

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There is a comprehensive Mentor/Resident matching process which takes place in the spring/early summer where both Residents and Mentors will have time to meet and identify potential partners. We match Residents with Mentors on factors such as racial and ethnic backgrounds, similar lived experiences, language, location, and/or personality.

How does STR work with Seattle Public Schools to assist in obtaining teaching positions after the program?

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While the program prepares candidates to teach in high-needs schools in Seattle, all hiring is within the exclusive authority of Seattle Public Schools (SPS).  SPS is a collaborating partner in this program and Residents who successfully complete the program and internship may, subject to SPS discretion, receive an initial contingency contract and may be invited to participate in Phase I of the interview process for new teachers (typically in the spring).

STR General Education Residents commit to teaching in a K-5 classroom at a Title I school in Seattle Public Schools for 5 years.

STR Special Education Residents commit to teaching in a K-5 Special Education classroom at a Title I school in Seattle Public Schools for 5 years.

 

In which schools does the STR program place residents?

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The exact STR program partner schools vary from year to year and are subject to change.  A list of Title I schools in SPS can be found here.

Past schools where residents have been placed include: Olympic Hills Elementary, Broadview Thomson K-8, Highland Park Elementary, West Seattle Elementary, John Muir Elementary, Rising Star (formerly Van Asselt) Elementary, Graham Hill Elementary, and South Shore K-8. Many of the past graduates of STR are now mentor teachers at their residency school site!

What is my teaching commitment at the end of my residency year?

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The STR program asks that all applicants who accept offers of admission commit to teaching 5 years in Seattle Public Schools after completion of their residency year.

More specifically, for General Education Residents, the commitment is 5 years teaching in a K-5 elementary classroom in a Title I school in Seattle Public Schools. For Special Education Residents, the commitment is 5 years teaching in a K-5 Special Education classroom in Seattle Public Schools.

Is STR associated with other residency programs around the country?

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The Seattle Teacher Residency is one of the partner residencies in the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR).  STR receives technical support and guidance from NCTR and is able to connect with and learn from the successes and challenges of the other residencies around the country.

How do I apply?

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See the Apply Now page for more details on application requirements.  When you’re ready, all applications are submitted through the University of Washington Graduate Study online application, linked here: https://grad.uw.edu/admissions/apply-now/

What does the application process/timeline look like?

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There are two application opportunities!
Applications are due in October and January for a June start to the program.  After your application is submitted, your file is reviewed by the Admissions Committee.
October applicants will be invited to interview at Selection Day in December.  January applicants will be invited to Selection Day in March.
Selection Day is an all day event in which applicants will interview with STR faculty and staff, teach a mini-lesson, and engage in a variety of educational activities designed to see if the residency program is the right fit.  Selection Day is a mandatory part of the application process. Out-of-area candidates are strongly encouraged to attend if invited to Selection Day, but if this is not possible, there will be a remote interview option.

What is the STR admissions committee looking for?

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Our ideal candidate brings the following attributes to the program:
  • A commitment to teach in Seattle Public Schools for a minimum of 5 years (post-residency) in schools serving low income communities and diverse student populations
  • A passion for serving students from diverse backgrounds and a strong commitment to social justice and equity
  • A deep belief that ALL students can learn and deserve an equitable education and a sense of urgent responsibility for student learning
  • Openness & willingness to engage in the toughest questions re: equity, race, gender, socio-economics, as well as white supremacy, privilege & entitlement
  • Strong leadership abilities
  • A commitment to ongoing learning, collaboration and communication
  • Superior organizational skills in time management, planning, scheduling, coordinating resources, and meeting deadlines
  • Resilience, perseverance, and openness to ask for support – especially when faced with challenges
  • Have volunteered in, have prior work experience in, and/or make commitments to: a) organizations that serve the academic, emotional, physical, social need of urban students; b) in urban schools; c) serving K-5 youth
  • Sustained engagement with children, families, and communities in urban settings in or outside of Seattle, WA.
  • Successful work with diverse student populations (linguistic, cultural, social, and economic) in both public school as well as youth and family support programs, early childhood settings, and/or social and service agencies
  • Family, community and/or work experiences reflective of intentional commitments to access and equity

How competitive is the application process?

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Typically, the admissions process is very competitive.  We encourage all applicants to have a “backup plan” as the program regularly receives significantly more applications than available spots in the program.

Can I apply if I already have a teaching license?

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Yes!  Applicants with a teaching license from another state are encouraged to apply.

Who should I ask to be my references?

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Your references should be individuals who know you well and are able to speak to your potential in this program and in the teaching profession.  References from individuals who have seen you interact with children and youth, especially managers/supervisors, are strongly encouraged.  Academic references are especially important if you have a sub-3.0 GPA.

How much does the program cost?

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With subject to change, the current tuition and fee rates for University of Washington graduate programs is listed on this website page.
The current quarterly tuition rate for the Master’s in Teaching degree (as of 4/11/22) is $6,725 per quarter. For the total 5 quarter program, the approximate tuition cost comes to $33,625.

How much is the stipend?

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Most Residents are expected to receive a $18,500 stipend, with payments spread out during the program.

Current Classified staff in SPS do not receive a living stipend.  Instead, they remain employees of SPS earning their salary and benefits while receiving tuition support from the school district through the Classified to Certificated program. More information on the “Class to Cert” programs, including STR, can be found here: https://www.seattleschools.org/departments/HR/careers/academy_for_rising_educators

Contact Tristan Wiley tawiley@seattleschools.org at SPS’ Academy for Rising Educators for more information!

How do residents make the program work financially?

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Seattle Teacher Residency program is committed to ensuring an affordable teacher preparation program plus Master’s Degree from UW for all Residents.
As enrolled graduate students at the University of Washington, Residents are eligible to apply for scholarships, student loans, TEACH Grant, and loan deferment through the University. Many residents choose to supplement their monthly stipend and cover the costs to and other living costs by applying for student loans.
As such, every student deserves to have an excellent teacher. If you are worried about the financial aspect of the STR program, please connect with the STR recruiter!

Where can I find more information about teacher loan forgiveness?

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Visit the federal Department of Education website to learn more about loan forgiveness programs available for teachers.

Link: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/teacher

What scholarships and grants are available?

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There are multiple databases listing scholarship and grant opportunities for teachers! Some are listed below and will be updated as the year progresses. Local and national scholarships have various deadlines, so researching other financial opportunities will be key!
Scholarship opportunities will be shared with Residents throughout the year and we encourage all Residents to continue researching as well.

Does STR provide housing for Residents?

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No.  Residents are responsible for finding their own housing.

Please contact the recruiter if you have any questions or concerns about housing!

Is a car necessary for the program?

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A car is not necessary for participation in the program.  Many of our past Residents have managed to successfully complete the program while using public transportation or car sharing.  Access to a car and public transportation is one factor in determining your placement site.

What about other resources (health insurance, child care, transportation)?

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Residents are responsible for health insurance.  Depending on your own financial situation, many Residents are eligible for free health insurance through Washington State’s AppleHealth program. The STR Recruiter can help you with your application.
All residents are full-time students at UW and receive a U-Pass as part of their fees.  More information on the U-Pass can be found here: https://facilities.uw.edu/transportation/u-pass/
Interested applicants with children are encouraged to apply.  Every year, there are always several parents and caregivers who are part of the cohort.  The recruiter can connect you with graduate parents from the program if you have more questions about how these grads were able to balance their family responsibilities with the rigor and demands of the program.
The STR program is committed to providing and connecting applicants with resources as needed.  We don’t want these to be barriers to success in the program!

How much does a first year teacher make in Seattle Public Schools?

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First year teachers with Master’s degrees earn approximately $70,000 per year, per the 2019-22 Collective Bargaining Agreement between SEA (Seattle Education Association) and SPS.

The longer you serve in the SPS community, the more your pay increases each year. If you have extra college credits, another Master’s or PhD, you may be able to increase your salary as well. See the Collective Bargaining Agreement link above.

What if I am a current paraprofessional (IA) working in Seattle Public Schools?

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Current Classified staff in SPS do not receive a living stipend.  Instead, they remain employees of SPS earning their salary and benefits while receiving tuition support from the school district through the Classified to Certificated program. More information on the “Class to Cert” programs, including STR, can be found here: https://www.seattleschools.org/departments/HR/careers/academy_for_rising_educators

Contact Tristan Wiley tawiley@seattleschools.org at SPS’ Academy for Rising Educators for more information!

What tests are required?

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All applicants are required to take two tests: a Basic Skills Test and a Content Knowledge Test. If you are taking the General Education pathway, Residents will take the WEST-E in ELL or Special Education.

Basic Skills Test 

For the Basic Skills Test, there are three sections: Reading, Writing, and Math. All three sections must be taken by the program date deadline. There is no minimum score requirement; however, you must report your scores.

The WEST-B is Washington’s “official” basic skills test, and it is a computer-based test.  There are other tests (SAT, ACT, etc.) that also fulfill this requirement.  You may submit any combination of tests as long as all 3 sections are completed.

Applicants from outside Washington State may submit SAT, ACT, or an approved equivalent test from some other states, or any combination of these tests.

Content Knowledge Test

The NES Elementary Education is the designated content knowledge test required for teacher certification in Washington state with an endorsement in Elementary Education.

The NES Elementary test is divided into two subtests:

Subtest I covers Language Arts and Social Studies.
Subtest II covers Mathematics, Science, and some other subject areas (The Arts, Health, and Fitness)

The minimum passing score for is 220 for each NES subtest. Both subtests must be taken before the program start date in June. You may choose to take these tests after the admissions process, but it is strongly encouraged to take these tests before the STR program start date in June.

Second Endorsement Test: General Education Pathway

For General Education pathway Residents’ second endorsement, they need to pass the WEST-E for either Special Education or ELLThe minimum score is 240 for either test. Residents typically take the WEST-E during their second summer quarter.

How do I report test scores?

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When registering for each test, when you are on the “Institutions to Receive Score Report” screen, please make sure to add University of Washington (Seattle) to receive the report.

If you are applying to more than one program at UW-Seattle, you do not need to request additional score reports.

Do I need to take the GRE?

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No.  The GRE is not required (and not considered) in the admissions process.

What can I substitute for the testing requirements?

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Applicants may submit SAT or ACT scores in lieu of the WEST-B. More information can be found here: http://assessment.pesb.wa.gov/basic/west_b-alternative

To report SAT scores: Call 866-756-7346 and ask that your scores be sent to University of Washington, Seattle, school code #4854. The cost is $12 for your score report plus $31 archive fee.

To report ACT scores: Contact Student Services Score Report (319-337-1270) to order your score report in addition to requesting your scores be sent to University of Washington, Seattle. ACT score reports cost $13.  Depending on the date the test was taken, you may be required to pay an additional $26 archive fee. Be sure to specify that your scores are sent to the University of Washington, Seattle.

If requesting older SAT or ACT scores, please verify that all 3 sections (Reading, Mathematics, Writing) were taken.  Writing is an optional section for both the SAT and the ACT.

There is not a substitute test for the NES, unless you complete an accredited teacher preparation program outside Washington state.

When and where are these tests offered?

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You can register for the WEST-B at this link: http://www.west.nesinc.com/.

You can register for the NES Elementary at this link: https://www.west.nesinc.com/TestView.aspx?f=HTML_FRAG/NT102_TestPage.html

For dual endorsements, you can register for the WEST-E Special Education or ELL.

Test dates are offered year round at multiple locations and can be taken multiple times.

Where can I find test preparation materials?

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Test preparation materials for the WEST-B can be found at https://www.west.nesinc.com/TestView.aspx?f=HTML_FRAG/WA095_PrepMaterials.html

Test preparation materials for the NES Elementary can be found at https://www.west.nesinc.com/TestView.aspx?f=HTML_FRAG/NT102_PrepMaterials.html

For dual endorsements, you can register for the WEST-E Special Education or ELL.

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

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Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington.  If English is not your primary language, you must demonstrate proficiency in English.  More information on the specific requirements can be found at this link.

What certification will I earn upon completion of the program?

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Graduates of the STR program are eligible for a Washington State Residency Certificate.  This certificate includes an endorsement in Elementary Education (K-8).  Residents in the STR program are required to add a second endorsement – their choice of English Language Learners or Special Education.  Typically, the second endorsement is granted after completing a state required practicum during the fall of your first year teaching.

Please note that the focus of the STR program preparation is in the K-5 age range and the expectation is that graduates fulfill their commitment to Seattle Public Schools teaching in a K-5 classroom.

Graduates of STR program are responsible for updating their Washington State Residency Certification with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.