ALAMOSA (October 31) – The Boettcher Teacher Residency program (BTR) in partnership with Adams State University gathered at The Grille at Cattails Golf Course on October 2, to celebrate the newest cohort of resident teachers and mentors entering the program as well as the first cohort of teachers graduating in May 2015.
BTR prepares individuals to have exceptional teaching careers in Colorado’s highest needs schools through a hands-on master’s degree program. Residents graduate with master’s degrees in education, an alternative teaching license and a culturally and linguistically diverse endorsement.
According to Stephanie Hensley, Adams State BTR field director, the master’s program pairs graduate students with education professionals, who act as mentors. “These mentor teachers are effective in the classroom and strong at mentoring and coaching.”
The evening included key note speakers Belle Faust, executive director of the Boettcher Teacher Residency, and Rosann Ward, president of PEBC (Public Education & Business Coalition), which oversees and operates the residency program.
Ward thanked the Boettcher Foundation, especially its President Tim Schultz, for his dedication. “The Boettcher Foundation is one of largest single foundations nationally to support this work, in terms of financial commitment and lasting impact.” She said PEBC’s guiding principles are to develop great educators, elevate the teaching profession, and support students in their learning. “Do not underestimate the value you bring into the classroom, the value you bring to students, and the value you bring to your colleagues as learners.”
Faust appreciates the support from Adams State faculty, including those in science, technology and math, for helping develop modules for elementary teachers. “Students have a harder time succeeding in middle and high school if they do not have a strong foundation in science, technology engineering and mathematics while in elementary school.” She believes providing ongoing professional development for teachers provides them with the right tools to inspire students.
The second BTR cohort has 21 graduate students, including Drake Brown, who teaches at Alamosa High School. “I am learning how to become a better teacher as well as a much better person. I’ve had a lot of insight into who I am and who I can be. My goals for myself are so much higher since starting the program.”
Bruce Velasquez grew up in Del Norte and, after graduating from college, worked in construction. “I am gaining a lot of insight into classroom management, using the right curriculum, and effective instructional strategies. It is really nice to have the support of a teacher mentor and gain actual experience in a classroom, especially after being out of education for a few years.”
Adams State alumnus Alcides Ponce ’14, originally from Peru, agrees: “It is a great program. The other students, in both cohorts, and all the teachers and mentors support me and care about education.”
The first cohort includes Adams State alumnus Jason Romero ’08 ’11. Romero is working on his second master’s degree through BTR and teaches full-time at Alamosa Elementary School. He has experienced both sides of the residency’s mentoring program.
“This program is an amazing benefit for the residents and mentors,” Romero said. The program is based on best practices to provide the resident teachers with actual experience in a classroom. “We all support each other.”
Administrators from surrounding school districts with residents, and Adams State faculty and administration were also invited to the reception to share information, network and strengthen partnerships.
For more information about applying for the BTR program, contact Hensley at 719-587-7984 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.