Residency programs offer educational experience to future teachers

Posted at 9:44 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 23:38:54-05

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Applications are now open for the Teacher Residency Programs within the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. The programs allow community members, current CMCSS employees, and high school seniors a non-traditional approach to becoming a teacher. They also put future teachers in the classroom.

"They're gaining that experience from a top-quality educator and that makes all the difference because they're learning best practices while they're taking those university courses," said Dr. Phyllis Casebolt, Director of Federal Projects, including the Teacher Residency Programs.

Residents work towards their licensure, degree, and/or certification while gaining first-hand experience as an Educational Assistant within the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. This experience provides instructional and non-instructional support to students while learning best practices for a career in education from a certified CMCSS educator.

"If they’re in the three-year program to earn a bachelor's degree then after they complete the program we would expect them to stay with us for three years, but we anticipate they would be with us for their career," said Casebolt.

She says the programs are essential each year while the country faces a teacher shortage but during a pandemic, the need is far greater.

"This has been a challenging season and we've had a shortage of substitute teachers," said Casebolt.

Their role this school year has been crucial as some have often filled in as substitutes while teachers were out. Casebolt says the residents work full-time as educational assistants and take university courses at night.

"To see the growth of the teacher residence and the impact they have on the students is phenomenal."

Casebolt says you don't even need an educational background -- there's only one qualification. "Just that heart for serving students," she said.

Now in its third year of the program, CMCSS has partnered with several colleges and universities in the surrounding area, including Austin Peay State University, Nashville State Community College, and Lipscomb University. Residents incur no expenses for tuition or textbooks.

There are three teacher residency pathways available for the 2021-2022 school year: Early-Learning Teacher Residency in partnership with Nashville State Community College and Austin Peay State University, Lipscomb Teacher Residency, and Lipscomb Middle Teacher Residency in partnership with Lipscomb University.

Applications for community members are due February 10, 2021. High School seniors must submit their applications by March 5, 2021. All applications and required paperwork can be found on the district website,