Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education and Professional Studies' teacher-in-residence program has received $228,000 from the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) to expand and improve its efforts to recruit and develop Black teachers for partner district schools.

The award comes through the NCTR's Black Educators Initiative, a five-year, $20 million effort to recruit and train 750 new Black teachers through NCTR's nationwide network of teacher residency programs. This year, the NCTR awarded nearly $2.2 million in grants to seven programs. Funding for the initiative comes from The Ballmer Group.

This is the second year ODU's teacher residency program has been awarded the competitive grant; 2020-21 the program was awarded $152,000.

ODU's program was one of eight residencies chosen to help launch NCTR's Black Educators Initiative.

The majority of school children in the United States are students of color, yet less than 20% of teachers are people of color, and only 7% of them are Black. Research shows that students of color do better in school and consider going to college at higher rates when they are taught by teachers with similar racial and demographic backgrounds. NCTR's Black Educators Initiative aims to improve student achievement by increasing access to Black teachers.

"Now more than ever, we need to focus on recruiting and retaining Black teachers," said Anissa Listak, NCTR's founder and CEO. "We are so proud to be able to work with ODU's teacher residency program through NCTR's Black Educators Initiative."

Teacher residency programs have proven effective at recruiting and developing teachers of color. In 2019-2020, NCTR's network of partner residencies reported that 62% of their teachers in training identified as persons of color - more than twice the diversity rate of teachers nationally. This year, 73% of teachers training in the ODU teacher residency program identify as a person of color.

"As a Black female scholar-practitioner, I am uniquely situated to critically examine the education and experiences of traditional preservice programs," said Kala Burrell-Craft, director of ODU's teacher residency program. "The Black Educators Initiative grant affords me the opportunity and the resources to intentionally recruit, develop and retain Black teachers that are needed in schools across our Hampton Roads area. Representation matters, and our children need diverse and inclusive schools, teachers and administrators."

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