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Charleston County School District Summer Teacher Residency




Program Goal: The goal of the Sumer Teacher Residency Program is to recruit and retain highly effective teachers in high-needs schools.

Short Summary: In June 2017, we implemented a Summer Teacher Residency Program to provide targeted, enhanced professional learning for novice teachers, to promote teacher leadership for master practitioners, and to continue student learning into the summer. This learning lab paired master elementary teachers from schools throughout the district with novice teachers who were about to begin or had recently begun teaching in high-needs schools.  

Each morning, the team co-taught with a focus on culturally responsive instructional practices and innovative learning approaches that include adaptive and personalized digital content. Each afternoon, students participated in enrichment activities sponsored by the City of Charleston, allowing teacher teams to plan and reflect on the day’s outcomes.  

These teachers collaboratively developed and implemented a summer learning program for K-5 students in a district high-poverty school. The master and novice teachers worked to promote culturally responsive instructional practice that encouraged student agency, provide opportunities for professional learning for teachers to support teacher recruitment and retention, to build capacity to differentiate learning across the district for educators and students, and to accelerate student achievement. The program was highly effective in increasing student achievement; giving novice teachers the tools, strategies, and habits of mind for challenges in high needs schools; and providing leadership and mentoring opportunities for our district’s highly effective master teachers. Our first cohort of master and novice teachers continued to collaborate in structured and unstructured learning opportunities throughout the 2017-18 school year.  

The program is being replicated this summer, and participation by master teachers, novice teachers, and students has more than doubled. The program has been such a success that our master and novice teachers hope that our district will be able to consider the possibility of developing a year-round teacher residency lab school in our district.

Target Settings: (urban, suburban, and/or rural): urban and suburban

Target Groups served:

  1. Students in high-poverty, high-needs school
  2. Novice teachers who have or will teach in high-poverty, high-needs schools
  3. Master teachers with demonstrated success in accelerating student achievement and engagement Schools/Districts served: Charleston County School District (master and novice teachers; students in targeted high-poverty schools)

Research: A variety of research was used in the development of this program. Included are the research briefs and studies below:

  1. New Findings on the Retention of Novice Teachers From Teaching Residency Programs (study of residency programs that received funding from the U.S. 
  2. Department of Education’s Teacher Quality Partnership program)
  3. Teaching Residency Programs: A Multisite Look at a New Model to Prepare Teachers for HighNeed Schools
  4. The Urban Teacher Residency Program: A Recursive Process to Develop Professional Dispositions, Knowledge, and Skills of Candidates to Teach Diverse Students
  5. Teacher and Principal Preparation and Support (Mathmatica)
  6. Teacher Professional Development and Preparation (Rockman et al)
  7. State of Teacher Preparation: Research & Stories From Early Years in the Classroom (REL Midwest)
  8. Collaboration with Dr. Fran Welch, Dean of the School of Education, Health, and Human Services - College of Charleston


Data: Student achievement data (digital content data and NWEA MAP); student attendance data, novice teacher classroom observation data; pre- and post-residency survey from master and novice teachers; pre- and post-student perception and engagement survey.

While we have conducted preliminary analysis of classroom observation data of novice teachers as well as student achievement and engagement data, we are continuing to work with the district’s Assessment and Evaluation Department as well as with our postsecondary partner, the College of Charleston, in determining final metrics to be analyzed in program evaluation.


Annual Cost: $175,000 (Salaries and benefits, student transportation, supplies, etc.)
Funding Sources: Title I, Title II, grant funds
Staffing needs: Master teachers and novice teachers based on number of students served; front office clerk; guidance counselor; program director Infrastructure/Equipment needs: 1:1 devices; adaptive digital content for English language arts and math; Smartboard
Partner Organizations: for 2017 program: City of Charleston; for 2018 program: Charleston Promise Neighborhood

Contact Information

Cindy Ambrose, Deputy Superintendent (Learning Services)
Charleston County School District Phone number with area code: (843) 937-6300

Links to other information, i.e., news articles, videos, etc.: District article about Summer Teacher Residency Program