Transforming Education in Texas: UTEP’s Miner Teacher Residency Program Is a Model for the State

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El Paso is leading the way in building a robust educator workforce, and the rest of the state has taken notice. UTEP’s Miner Teacher Residency, an initiative that began in 2019 with support from the El Paso Community Foundation and CREEED with 19 pre-service teachers at two campuses, is now making significant waves in the El Paso region and across the state of Texas.

Day 1 Ready

The Miner Teacher Residency Program is designed to bridge the gap between theory and practice, transforming enthusiastic “teachers in training” into highly effective day-1 ready teachers. Residents spend a full school year in local classrooms, working side by side with experienced mentor teachers. This invaluable hands-on experience prepares them for the unique challenges and opportunities they will encounter in their own classrooms.

Christina Castanos, New Teacher Residency Program Coordinator for Clint ISD, credits the program with making a positive difference in her district:

“Residents learn how to efficiently plan lessons with district resources, how to use district pacing guides, and have continuous professional development targeting their needs,” says Christina Castanos. This approach ensures that they are well-equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary for effective teaching. We have observed the difference this has made in the preparedness of new teachers who were residents compared to a first-year teacher who did not go through the residency program.”

Teacher Shortages

While many communities are experiencing an increase in teacher shortages, the UTEP Miner Teacher Residency Program is helping to provide a pipeline of well-trained, passionate educators who are more likely to stay in El Paso after graduation. 

The fact that 14 out of 16 residents from the first cohort have become new teachers in Clint ISD schools demonstrates the success of the program in retaining talent from within the district,” says Ms. Castanos.The impact the residency program has had [on] our district has been invaluable in being able to hire from within and grow the district’s teacher pipeline.” The residency program not only helps address the teacher shortage we are facing,  but also fosters a sense of stability and consistency within local El Paso schools. 

Looking to the Future

The UTEP Miner Teacher Residency program has come a long way from the first cohort of 19 residents in 2019. During the 2022-2023 school year, 187 residents were working and learning alongside master mentor teachers in 40 campuses across seven El Paso school districts, with plans for further expansion in the coming years. The residency model has been so successful that it has been adopted across the state of Texas. 

By nurturing and developing the next generation of educators, the Miner Teacher Residency Program has become a beacon of hope for education. As this program continues to grow, we will see the effects of investing in our pre-service teachers for years to come, making El Paso a shining example of educational excellence and innovation.

“UTEP’s dedication to teacher preparation through the residency model is nothing short of remarkable. Their commitment to providing aspiring educators with real-world, hands-on experience and mentorship not only elevates the quality of education in the region but also sets a shining example for educational institutions across the state of Texas and the country. The impact of their work extends far beyond the classroom, shaping the future of education and the lives of countless students.” Sarah Beal, Executive Director, US PREP

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