What is the difference between the two pathways in the 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). 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 SPED coursework and commit to working as a SPED teacher upon completion of the program.

When does the program start and end?

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The 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 coursework all day Monday through Friday.
During the academic school year, a resident is at his/her school placement all day Monday through Thursday. Coursework takes place one evening and one day per week, plus one Saturday per month.

What type of time commitment is required by the program?

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

From what institution do residents earn their master’s degree?

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Residents earn their Master in Teaching degree from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Where is coursework held?

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Frequently, instructors arrange for courses to take place at partner schools in SPS and are held in common spaces – extra classrooms, libraries, etc.  The 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.

Coursework is held occasionally on the UW Seattle campus.

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 Learner or Special Education.  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.

What grade levels do residents work with?

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During the residency year, residents are partnered with a mentor teacher in a Kindergarten through 5th grade classroom or a Kindergarten through 5th grade 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.

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).  As such, STR cannot guarantee that everyone who completes the program will be offered employment at SPS.  However, 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 residents commit to teaching in in a high needs SPS school 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, Van Asselt Elementary, Graham Hill Elementary, and South Shore K-8.

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.

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 windows.
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 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/diverse student populations that are struggling to succeed in school
  • A passion for serving urban students from diverse backgrounds and a strong commitment to social justice and equity
  • A deep belief that all students can learn and a sense of responsibility for student learning
  • Openness & willingness to engage in the toughest questions re: equity, race, gender, socio-economics, as well as privilege & entitlement
  • Strong leadership ability
  • A commitment to ongoing learning, collaboration and communication
  • Superior organizational skills in time management, planning, scheduling, coordinating resources, meeting deadlines
  • Resilience and perseverance, 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
  • Sustained engagement with children, families, and communities in urban settings
  • Successful work with diverse student populations (linguistic, cultural, social, economic) in both public school as well as youth and family support programs, early childhood settings, and/or social 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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The current tuition rates for University of Washington Master in Teaching programs is listed on this website:  http://opb.washington.edu/content/tuition-fees
The current quarterly tuition rate for the STR program (as of 8/1/19) is $6,167 per quarter. For the total 5 quarter program, the approximate tuition cost comes to $30,835.

How much is the stipend?

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Most residents are expected to receive a $15,000 stipend, with payments spread out during the program.  This works out to just under $1,100 per month.
Classified SPS staff (paraprofessionals) participating in the program do not receive a living stipend.

How do residents make the program work financially?

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As enrolled graduate students at the University of Washington, residents are eligible to apply for student loans 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.
There are multiple loan forgiveness programs available for teachers.

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:
TEACH Grants – Federal grants for students planning on teaching
WashBoard – Washington state specific scholarship database
AFT Funding Database – scholarship database from the American Federation of Teachers

Does STR provide housing for residents?

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No.  Residents are responsible for finding their own housing.  STR is committed to providing resources and connections for residents – 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.  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.
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 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.  Please contact the recruiter for additional information.

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 and SPS.

What if I am a current paraprofessional 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/classified_to_certificated_program

What tests are required?

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All applicants are required to submit scores on the WEST-B basic skills test.  This state-required computer-based test has 3 sections: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.  All three sections must be taken by the application deadline.

How do I report scores?

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When registering for the test, when you are on the “Institutions to Receive WEST 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 WEST-B 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

When and where is the WEST-B offered?

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You can register for the WEST-B at this link: http://www.west.nesinc.com/.  Test dates are offered year round at multiple locations.

Where can I find test preparation materials?

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

What is the NES and when do I need to take it?

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The NES is a state-required subject matter competency exam required for certification.  In order to earn your Elementary Education endorsement, this test must be passed.  There are two subtests.  Subtest I covers Language Arts and Social Studies.  Subtest II covers Mathematics, Science, and Arts/Health/Fitness.

Although this exam is not required for admission into the STR program, please note that residents are responsible for passing this exam for eventual certification.  Residents must pass this test by March of their residency year.  More information can be found on the NES test website.

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 native 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 Learner or Special Education.  Typically, the second endorsement is granted after completing a state required practicum during the fall of your first year teaching.