Seymour receives teacher residency grant

Seymour Community School Corp. is one of 27 school corporations to receive grant funding through the Indiana Commission for Higher Education Teacher Residency Grant.

Seymour will receive $15,000 to support one teacher resident during the 2022-23 academic year.

Teacher residency programs are yearlong paid teaching experiences for student educators who plan on teaching kindergarten through 12th grade.

Seymour will be partnering with Indiana University Southeast, which is a requirement of the grant, and the areas of interest are special education and English language learners.

The grant goes toward a $1,500 stipend for university supervisors, a $1,500 stipend for a mentor teacher and a $12,000 stipend for a resident teacher.

Seymour is among 15 new school corporations, joining with 12 continuing corporations, that combined will host more than 70 teacher residents through the Indiana CHE Teacher Residency Grant Pilot Program. A total of $1,050,000 in residency grants were awarded for 2022-23.

The Teacher Residency Grant Pilot Program and Fund were established in 2019 House Enrolled Act 1009 by the Indiana General Assembly to develop and fund one-year postgraduate residencies for teachers to receive training for purposes of teaching kindergarten through 12th grade in schools in participating school corporations or charter schools.

Associate Commissioner for Legislation and Program Implementation Josh Garrison said the first year was spent making sure the foundation was set and everything was in place.

“We launched the program in the 2020-21 school year and started fairly small with 27 teacher residents placed through the grant program the first year,” Garrison said. “The next year, we placed 35, and then for the 2022-2023 school year, there will be 70 teacher residents placed through the grant program throughout the state of Indiana.”

He said the residency model is a fairly new one they’ve seen in other states with medical residencies and apprentice-type programs, and it provides a full-year experience for a resident teacher matched with a mentor teacher.

“The goal behind the program is to provide a more in-depth training and a better support for the new and upcoming teachers as they enter the classroom,” Garrison said. “They can see what a full academic year looks like with the goal of making sure they’re better prepared and that we’ll be able to retain them longer in the field.”

He said the school corporations selected are making strides to develop a pipeline of well-prepared future educators all across Indiana, and under the teacher residency model, mentor teachers will prepare resident teachers for the challenges they will face in the classroom.

Joy Stuckwisch is currently the acceleration coach for Seymour Community School Corp., which is a position that is grant funded to track data concerning learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and also assist staff in supporting students to increase their learning rate.

“Prior to this school year, I taught special education at Seymour High School,” Stuckwisch said. “While being a coach, I have also tried to obtain state/federal grants that would support students who are identified as special education or English as a second language so they have additional opportunities to accelerate their learning.”

The residency grant was voted on and accepted during the Seymour board of education meeting Tuesday evening.

“Now that we have accepted the grant, I will work with Mrs. (Mika) Ahlbrand, and Mrs. (Diane) Altemeyer to determine the exact need and the possible location for the program,” Stuckwisch said. “Our grant will support one teacher resident.”

Initial grant recipients are eligible for renewal of the grant for the 2023-24 school year contingent on continued funding and initial outcomes.