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Residency Program for School Leadership FAQs

What is the goal of the Residency Program for School Leadership?

Partner districts (New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport Public Schools) and Achievement First will collaborate to recruit and develop outstanding leaders to serve as the next generation of great principals in traditional district schools in New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport. This work is part of the district’s vision to ensure that every graduating student is academically prepared to attend and succeed in college.

Program structure: What does the program consist of and what are the program dates for 2016-17?

The Residency Program is an intense, one-year training model designed to provide new insight and learning for school leaders. The model will include the following components:

  • Two intensive summer skill-building workshop series
  • A mentor-supported residency as a leadership team member in a successful Achievement First school
  • A mentor-supported residency as a leadership team member in a traditional district school led by a high-impact leader
  • Weekly evening leadership workshops taught by expert practitioners
  • Weekly individualized coaching sessions

The 2016-17 Residency Program cohort will participate in four days of training during the last week in June. Full training commences in June 2016 and will end in June 2017.

What happens after completion of the Residency Program?

Following the residency year, Residency Program graduates who meet program requirements and competency standards will be deemed placement-ready assistant principals (APs) or principals for a host district school. There is no guarantee of placement as an AP or principal. However, Residency Program candidates who apply to the program as district employees will continue to be district employees even if it is determined that they will not be placed as school leaders. Participation in the program requires a minimum commitment to the district (three years to New Haven Public Schools; one year to Hartford Public Schools).

What is the extent of the partnership between the traditional public school districts and Achievement First?

This initiative represents a first-of-its-kind district/charter management organization partnership to develop strong new leaders for district schools. Partner districts and Achievement First jointly fundraised for the Residency Program for School Leadership, and the program design and staffing is a collaborative effort. Recruitment and selection of candidates has been designed as a joint process, and residencies will take place in both public charter and traditional school district environments. Residents will also receive mentoring from partner district employees and Achievement First staff. It is a true partnership in every sense.

Will residents continue to receive full salary and benefits from their host district during the program?

Yes, Residency Program participants are employees of the district, even during their Achievement First residency time. Benefits will remain constant and salary will be at or above residents’ current school year levels.

Certification: Do all residents need to be certified prior to submitting an application? If applicants are not certified, will the program offer an alternative route to certification?

The Residency Program for School Leadership is approved as an alternate route provider of Administrator (092) certification by the State Department of Education. All residents must hold 092 certification (earned prior to the start of the Residency Program or through the program's 092 certification process) to be placed as an administrator in a host district following the residency year. All participants must have their teacher certification from the state of Connecticut or another state prior to the start of the program.

Will all residents retain their tenure and union coverage?

Yes, participants from New Haven, Bridgeport, and Hartford Public Schools continue to be employees of the district from which they come. Consequently, they will retain all district benefits.

Who will control the hiring and evaluation of residents—the residency principals, the program coaches or district staff?

Hiring and performance evaluation will be a joint effort among residency principals, program coaches and district staff. Mentor principals and the Residency Program coaches will make recommendations to the district with regard to continued program participation and future placement of program graduates. The district, however, will make specific decisions regarding placement.

After the yearlong training and residency, will Residency Program graduates continue to be supported and receive opportunities for ongoing professional development?

Yes. The Residency Program realizes the importance of ongoing support and development of its graduates. Support will continue for up to two years following the residency year in the form of facilitated visits to high-performing schools, school opening live support, regular 1:1 coaching, access to district and Achievement First network professional development, full access to the Achievement First curriculum and professional development resources, and bi-monthly cohort dinners.

If residents who are district employees choose not to complete the program, can they return to their former schools?

District program participants who leave the program mid-year will return to the district and retain their status as district employees. However, the district will make the decision to place its employees based on district policies and procedures, as well as the greatest needs of its schools, so participants are not guaranteed the ability to return to their former placements.

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