Trout Creek School chosen for residency program
September 22, 2022
Trout Creek School has been chosen as one of 12 schools in Montana to participate in the state’s first Teacher Residency Demonstration Project for the 2022-2023 school year. The program was designed to prepare and retain rural educators. The goal after one year of residency in a partnering school district is for the teacher resident to have gained enough experience to be prepared to lead their classrooms on day one of employment.
“Annie Taylor is our new teacher resident,” said superintendent Preston Wenz. “With normal student teachers, they only get a semester of being in the classroom. I’m curious to see how the residency model will work and how resident teachers compare to regular student teachers.”
Taylor, age 23, originally from Oregon, is currently enrolled at Montana Western. Taylor says she wanted to become a teacher because she loves to help others. “Kids are still growing and starting to figure out the world,” she said. “I think it would be amazing if I could make a difference in a kid’s life that could help them in the future.”
The resident program is a one-year student teaching experience during the fourth year of undergraduate studies for education majors. “Annie is in her senior year of school so she still has a full class load,” Wenz said. “Eighty percent of her time will be in the classroom and the other 20% will be used to do her school work as needed.”
The school district’s obligation is to provide housing, which Wenz says they are fortunate enough to have. Resident teachers will also commit to teaching in a Montana school district for a minimum of two years after the program. In return, the resident teachers receive a stipend from the state and assistance with tuition.
“I was very excited to have an amazing opportunity to get more hands-on experience and training,” Taylor said. “I think programs like this are going to be crucial for future teacher success because it allows you to get to know the kids, work around them and figure out things you did like or didn’t like to incorporate into your own classroom.”
As part of the program, each resident will be paired with a teacher-leader. For Taylor, that leader is kindergarten teacher Alicia Wenz. “She was the best fit for what Annie was needing,” the superintendent said.
Wenz says the goal is for Taylor to stay on at Trout Creek School after she finishes her residency program, or to help her find employment at another rural school district in the state. “I want her to have a well-rounded experience here. Her certification is in art, so she will be helping us big time in our art classes. We want her to get a full picture of what it is to be a teacher and she will have a full year to do that.” Taylor says while she is only a few weeks into the school year, she is ready to learn how to manage a classroom and says she also hopes to acquire the skills to make lesson plans fun and educational for the students.