Teacher Residency Program
Theory, research, and practical experience grounded in multicultural education and teaching for social justice
above: the Class of 2015
After five years, the Teacher Residency Program at Gordon School and Roger Williams University was discontinued. In early May, 2015, Provost Bob Cole reached out to Gordon administrators to share that financial considerations required the university to discontinue the program. The class of 2015 was the last to graduate from the program.
A public purpose
At Gordon’s annual meeting in May 2015, Head of School Ralph L. Wales called the Teacher Residency Program the “best example of how Gordon can serve a role in the broader field of education, to be, in a substantive fashion, a private school with a public purpose.”
Over five years, the Teacher Residency Program graduated thirty-six educators, steeped in the principles of multicultural education, who went on to teach in every kind of school, from rural to urban, and from public to private to charter. These graduates include seven men and six people of color, a significantly more diverse group than most education master’s degree programs.
The Teacher Residency Program was developed and directed by Lynn Bowman, a former classroom teacher who had also led Gordon’s Multicultural Institute, an annual three-day workshop which drew Middle School teachers from across the country. The Residency sparked strong partnerships between Gordon and the International Charter School, the Paul Cuffee School and Highlander School, which in turn fueled participation in 2015’s Unpacking Race symposium at Gordon and Brown University.
Since the program’s founding in 2010, work in educational research and theory repeatedly confirmed the importance of residency programs in teacher preparation, emphasizing, in Lynn Bowman’s words, “the ‘mutually beneficial’ relationship between the aspiring teachers and the school communities that host them.”
The Teacher Residency Program was a demanding and rewarding experience for Gordon’s faculty. The vast majority of Gordon’s teachers in first to sixth grade served as cooperating teachers, hosting a resident in their classrooms and providing their primary training.
In addition, fifteen members of Gordon’s current faculty taught a graduate-level course as an adjunct professor, or provided a workshop in specific areas of instruction or curriculum.
Each year, over one hundred and fifty students directly experienced the benefit of having a resident in the classroom serving as a second professional resource and advocate. For the entire school, adults and students alike, the residents served as models of lifelong learners.
Gordon remains committed to the spirit of the Teacher Residency: the learning it inspired in Gordon classrooms, the partnerships it sparked in Rhode Island, and the teachers it sent out into the world. In her remarks to the 2015 graduates, Teacher Residency Program Director Lynn Bowman asked them to continue this work: “we ask that you stay in touch—that you share your new learnings with us, that you carry us with you to your new schools, and that you always know you can come back to us for support and reassurance or guidance.”
From Lynn Bowman
Dear Residency alumni and friends of Gordon,
It has been a privilege to engage with all of you over the years in this effort to train beginning teachers and to deepen our own understanding of how to provide a more inclusive and equitable educational experience for all students.
While the Teacher Residency Program has come to an end, Gordon's commitment to teacher development remains strong. I look forward to exploring ways we can continue the conversation. Let's stay in touch. You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of the resources we discovered since 2007, when development began on this program, are online at www.gordonschool.org/resources
Graduates went gone on to teach in these schools:
Alton Jones Environmental Education Center
West Greenwich, RI
Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys
Blackstone Valley Prep
CW Shipley Elementary School
Harpers Ferry, WV
East Providence, RI
Heath Elementary School
International Charter School
Meridian Public Charter School
Paul Cuffee School
Portsmouth Abbey School
Rocky Hill School
East Greenwich, RI
St. Andrew’s School
Boca Raton, FL
St. Michael’s Country Day School
Dorado, Puerto Rico
Washington Middle School for Girls