The BTR Impact

BTR’s mission is to prepare excellent teachers for the Boston Public Schools (BPS) — teachers who know the city’s students and the district’s work. Since graduating its first class in 2004, BTR and its network of graduates teaching in the BPS have helped spearhead a new movement in education reform — developing teachers in the areas of highest need, reversing trends in teacher retention, and receiving positive feedback from administrators across the district.

Nationally, an estimated 50% of all urban school teachers leave within their first three years — not because they don’t want to help, but because they’re not always ready. By preparing a new kind of teacher inside the classroom — providing the practical learning, the hands-on experience and the support network they need to be effective right away — BTR is reversing that trend. Currently, 87% of our graduates are still teaching and 90% are still in the field of education; 80% of those hired by the Boston Public Schools have remained in the district.

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“One of the biggest challenges in urban school districts today is retaining teachers. Getting people hooked early on teaching – giving them positive support and a good experience in their training, then following up with even more support during those critical first few years – that's been the real key to success
for BTR.”

-Tom Payzant
Senior Lecturer on Education,
Harvard Graduate School of Education

In years past, the lack of qualified teachers in high-need areas has put Boston students at a distinct disadvantage. BTR has worked to offset this imbalance by preparing and supporting teachers of color and teachers of math, science, English as a Second Language (ESL), and special education for the BPS. Currently, 55% of BTR's secondary graduates teach math or science, 37% of all graduates are teaching ESL or special education, and 49% are teachers of color.

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“BTR is an exciting program... it has zeroed in on how to prepare high-quality teachers in our highest-need areas, and has given us the chance to develop teachers who otherwise wouldn't come to the profession. Teachers coming out of BTR are better skilled at working with our English Language Learners and students with special needs - and it's the strongest program we know in terms of diversifying our workforce. ”

-Dr. Carol Johnson
Superintendent,
Boston Public Schools

School leaders’ assessment of BTR graduates is incredibly important in shaping and refining the residency model to ensure effectiveness, and gives BTR significant insight into the efficacy of its graduates. In a recent survey, 93% of principals rated BTR graduates similarly or more effective than their peers with the same years of experience, and 97% would recommend hiring a BTR graduate to a colleague.

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“You can pick out right away who the brand-new teachers are – they’re scared to death. The people who have been through the Boston Teacher Residency program, they’re at a whole different level.”

-Michelle Boyers
Former Head of Human Resources,
Boston Public Schools

BTR expects that all students taught by residents, mentor teachers, and graduates will make at least one year of academic progress each year. We are committed to being transparent about these results and to sharing effective practices and lessons learned with educators, researchers, and other partners who share our mission of improved outcomes for urban students.

We have recently initiated several cutting-edge studies to measure the effectiveness of its graduates in increasing student learning. The first “value-added” study by Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research shows that while BTR graduates teaching grades 4-8 math start off slightly less effective at raising student test scores, by their fourth and fifth years they outperform Boston teachers with similar levels of experience. Teacher Effectiveness blog.