Frequently Asked Questions

General Program Questions

When does the 2015-16 program begin and end?

The thirteenth BTR cohort will begin the Teacher Residency in July 2015 and graduate the following July. The residency component of BTR takes one year, but BTR is a four-year program; BTR continues to provide graduates with formal support and professional development for their first three years of teaching in the BPS.

How many graduates are teaching in the Boston Public Schools?

At the start of the 2014-15 academic year, we will have eleven cohorts of graduates teaching in the BPS, and our twelfth cohort in its residency year. Since graduating our first class in 2004, we have prepared over 500 highly effective teachers who are raising the bar for student achievement in their schools and across the entire school system.

What is a Resident's schedule like?

The 13-month preparation component of BTR runs July through July, and encompasses two summer components and one full school year.
Summer schedule: Graduate coursework, Monday-Friday, generally 9am-4pm
School year schedule: Residents are in their schools, Monday-Thursday all day. The content methods courses are one evening per week for 3 hours. From 9am-4pm on Fridays, Residents attend their graduate courses.

Here is an example of what a typcial schedule might look like during the school year.  Please note, this is just a sample, and exact schedules will depend upon the Resident’s affiliate school’s hours and other content or grade level specific factors.

BTR observes all BPS holidays, and Residents are not in schools or taking graduate courses during those times.  Please click here for the BPS academic calendar.

How does BTR help graduates obtain teaching positions with the Boston Public Schools after the program?

BTR has a full-time Alumni/Placement Manager who facilitates the placement process for all Residents, starting in the beginning of the residency year. In addition, BTR partners closely with the BPS Office of Human Resources to ensure that each cohort of Residents matches the projected hiring needs of the district. During the Residency year, BTR works with principals and recruiters to facilitate the hiring process, and BPS hosts several hiring fairs during the year.

What kinds of people does BTR seek for the program? Am I a good match?

BTR seeks to enroll a diverse and talented cohort of educators who have strong potential to be successful in a rigorous graduate program for urban teacher preparation and as educators for the students and families of Boston.  We look for people who:

- Have strong academic background and show a record of achievement/improvement, including evidence content knowledge, writing skills, and critical thinking skills
- Show a commitment to teaching as a career path, to youth, to community, and to the BTR mission
- Have high expectations for students and themselves; and appropriate/realistic expectations for urban education
- Exhibit a learning stance and approach this work with humility; are adaptive and eager learners who understand that receiving and implementing feedback are critical to professional growth
- Demonstrate professionalism, maturity, and perseverance; are prepared and ready for the rigors of the program and teaching

Does BTR place Residents in all grade levels and subject areas?

BTR places Residents in grades 1 through 12:
Elementary (grades 1-5)
Secondary English (6-12)
Middle School Math (6-8)
High School Math (9-12)
High School Biology, Chemistry, or Physics (9-12)

BTR also ensures that all Residents are prepared for dual licensure in either Special Education (Teachers of Students with Moderate Disabilities) or English as a Second Language. The dual license track is a two-year process that begins during the residency and is generally completed during the resident’s first year of teaching in the Boston Public Schools.

At which schools are Residents placed? Where are they located? Are they accessible via public transportation?

BTR has developed a concentrated residency model, in which clusters of Residents are placed within a select few host schools, called Residency Affiliate Schools. In March 2012, BTR announced 3-year contracts with the following Residency Affiliate Schools:

Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School—Roxbury [BPE’s first “Teaching Academy”]
Young Achievers Science and Mathematics Pilot School—Mattapan
Orchard Gardens K-8 School—Roxbury
Boston Community Leadership Academy—Hyde Park
Jeremiah E Burke High School—Dorchester

Please follow the links to addresses and MBTA directions. 

Must I commit to teaching in the Boston Public Schools? For how long?

BTR expects all residents to commit to teach in the BPS for at least three years after graduation from the residency. While the formal commitment is only three years, BTR does intend for most of its graduates to stay in teaching and take on leadership roles in the BPS for many years beyond the first three. As our graduate pool grows, BTR is building a powerful movement for change within the BPS and the larger education reform community. For more information on how the three year teaching commitment is tied to the BTR tuition waiver, please see the section on Financial Questions.

When and where are BTR Info Sessions held?

During the Admissions Season (August through January), BTR Info Sessions are held on two evenings a month. During the off-season (February through August), they are held monthly. For dates, times and registration information, please visit BTR’s Events Page. Info Sessions are held at the BTR office in South Boston’s Fort Point Neighborhood: 27-43 Wormwood Street, Suite 110, Boston, MA 02210.

How else can I connect with the BTR?

There are many ways to connect with BTR before you are in the program. In addition to sending emails to our prospect list and holding BTR Info Sessions, we host occasional Make a Difference Networking Nights which are great opportunities to meet BTR staff, residents, grads and other members of the community. You can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check out our videos on YouTube.

How are Residents matched with schools and mentors?

BTR’s mentorship model is based upon the belief that learning to teach is best done by doing the work together, and by engaging in regular, reflective, data-based conversations about the work alongside other educators. We also believe that the model of one-to-one mentoring is insufficient for the demanding work of teaching. Instead, we aim to place Residents in large clusters in schools in which the entire school – rather than one individual—provides a collaborative mentoring environment. School staff and BTR staff come together around a common set of instructional principles and practices, which then provide the foundation and framework for Residents’ learning. While Residents will still be assigned to one classroom, they will also observe and spend time with many other teachers in their school and in other schools.

Residents are part of an academic department and grade level team. Within these teams are Collaborating Teachers (formerly known as Mentor Teachers, who host one or more residents in their classrooms), as well as other teachers in that content/grade at the school, called Partner Teachers. BTR Clinical Teacher Educators (CTEs) work with entire content/grade level teams to facilitate teaching and learning among teams of teachers.

Residency placements are made after the admissions and enrollment season has closed at the discretion of program staff; school placements are generally announced during the first week of the residency in July.

From which institution do Residents receive their masters degrees? Who teaches the courses?

Residents earn a master’s degree in education from the University of Massachusetts Boston’s College of Education and Human Development. While UMass grants the degree, BTR hires its own faculty and designs courses tailored to BPS’ curricular and instructional goals and activities. BTR courses and seminars are taught by experts from schools, universities and local community agencies who have demonstrated expertise in bridging theory and practice. Courses are held at the BTR office or at one of the host schools (not on the UMass Boston Campus). However, as BTR Residents are enrolled as graduate students at UMass, they have full access to the library, computer labs, gym, the Ross Center for Disability Services, the writing and health centers, and all other university privileges and services.

Where are graduate classes held?

For the 2014-15 program, BTR Summer courses are held at Orchard Gardens in Roxbury. During the academic year, BTR courses will be held at the BPE Office in South Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood (27-43 Wormwood Street, Boston, MA 02210), a 10-minute walk from South Station. Some content courses may also be held at the host schools where Residents are placed.

Does BTR provide housing?

BTR does not provide housing, although our large network of Residents and graduates is available for advice and assistance with housing and transportation questions. 

Are applicants required to take the MTEL before applying to BTR?

BTR does NOT require applicants to have passed the required MTEL tests when they apply to the program, although it is strongly encouraged. BTR does require applicants who have taken the test to submit all past MTEL scores as a part of the application (the online application provides more detailed instructions on where to submit the scores) and applicants who take the MTEL while their application is under review may send the results to BTR Admissions so that this information can be added to their files.

Do enrolled residents have to take the MTEL before the start of the program?

BTR does require that all accepted and enrolled residents pass the required MTEL tests. The policy requires that incoming residents take each test that they have not passed at each upcoming test date until all required tests have been passed. In other words, after being accepted and enrolled, all Cohort 12 residents must take all outstanding MTELs at the next available test date. Residents unable to meet these requirements, due to specific constraints (living in an area that does not offer MTEL) or prior commitment, must submit a formal request to miss a test date.

BTR developed this proactive policy because a passing score on the required MTELs is a prerequisite to receive a teaching license, graduate from BTR, and teach as a licensed teacher in the Boston Public Schools. BTR is a rigorous, 13-month program and taking the MTEL before the program starts allows residents to focus on teaching and academic coursework rather than on test preparation. Furthermore, if an incoming resident has trouble passing the test, it is beneficial for BTR program staff to know about this early in order to provide him or her with additional test preparation tools and support.

Application Questions

What are the minimum qualifications to apply?

To be eligible to apply for the 2015-16 program year, an applicant must a) be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident, and b) hold or expect to hold a bachelor’s degree before the start of the program. Applicants must also report any previous Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) scores. For more information on the MTEL, please click here.

How do prospective applicants access the 2015-16 program year application?

Thank you for your interest in BTR. Our admissions season for BTR Cohort 13 (2015-16 program year) is now closed. If interested in applying for Cohort 14 (2016-17) or future program years, we encourage you to complete a Prospect Form. You will receive an e-mail from the BTR Admissions Office by early August with a link to the online application. BTR recommends that applicants bookmark this link so that they can easily access the online application.
If you have filled out a prospect form in a past year, you will have to fill out a new form using a different email address. This way, you will be entered into our system as a prospect for the current admissions season and receive all relevant communications.

Can I apply to BTR if I already have a teaching license?

Yes!  BTR does not have a policy against accepting applications from candidates who are currently enrolled in or who have completed a traditional teacher preparation program, or who will already have earned teacher licensure before enrolling to BTR. In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of these individuals who seek additional preparation and support, and who would benefit from an urban teacher residency program. Please note, however, that BTR does not grant transfer credit nor exempt any residents from any coursework or practicum requirements. We expect that all teacher residents come with a learning stance and are ready to engage in the important work of teaching and learning with their colleagues.

What is the BTR Admissions Process?

All applicants must first submit a complete online application by the appropriate application deadline, including recommendations and transcripts. Applications are then reviewed by a committee and selected finalists will receive an invitation to attend a Selection Day. The Selection Day process takes place during a regular school day at one of the BTR host schools, and consists of a set of activities, such as group problem-solving, a mini-lesson, individual interviews, and writing and content assessments.  Selection Days are also opportunities for candidates to “try on” for a day what it might be like to be a resident/teacher, and to engage with students, teachers, and staff.  Decision letters are sent within two weeks following Selection Day. Please note: Selection Day is a required component of the BTR Admissions Process and, if invited, finalists must interview at Selection Day in order to be considered for acceptance to the program.

What is the application timeline for the 2015-16 program?

The Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) has additional openings in Secondary Math and Science for the 2015-16 program.  The BTR application for Math and Science candidates is now reopened for a limited time. We encourage interested applicants to apply as soon as possible.
Please fill out the prospect form to access the online application.

What are the required components of the BTR application?*

1. A complete BTR online application
2. Scanned, electronic copies of transcripts [official or unofficial] from all post-secondary institutions from which the applicant earned academic credit, including degree, non-degree and transfer uploaded into our online application portal.*
3. Three recommendations from professional or academic references submitted directly by the references through the BTR online system
*Instructions on how to complete and submit the BTR online application, upload transcripts, send invitations to references to complete the online recommendation form and other details are available via the online application portal. Please log in for more specific details and instructions.

Are the Fall and Winter deadlines for application to the same program?

Yes. All admissions cycles are for admission to the 2015-16 program, which begins July 2015.  We have two different cycles in order to allow applicants to apply throughout the year.  Applicants are encouraged to apply early, as we accept and enroll talented candidates as they apply, and have limited positions available in each content area.

What is the process for applying to UMass Boston?

Because earning a master’s degree in education is part of the BTR program, residents must apply to UMass Boston in addition to applying to BTR. Accepted applicants who choose to enroll to BTR must follow the instructions laid out by BTR and submit an application, a $60 application fee, a $250 tuition deposit and official transcripts to UMass. Enrolled residents who do not complete the UMass Boston admissions process on time will not be eligible for summer financial aid or course registration.

Are there benefits to applying early?

We encourage all applicants to apply early. Our goal is to enroll a high quality cohort, and rather than having quotas for each deadline, we admit great teacher residents as they apply.

How strict are BTR’s application deadlines? Do all transcripts and recommendations need to be in by the deadline?

Due to the small size of the BTR Admissions team, and the large quantity of applications submitted and processed during each application cycle, BTR is strict about the deadlines. Applications will not be considered complete unless all transcripts are uploaded and all three recommendations have been received. Therefore, applicants should communicate with recommendation providers about dates and deadlines, and should plan to follow up and send reminders as necessary in order to ensure that all materials are received by BTR far in advance of the deadline.

Whom should applicants ask for recommendations?

The recommendations should be from individuals who know you well, who can speak to your capacity to excel in a rigorous graduate program, your potential to become an effective urban educator, and your ability to participate in a collaborative and professional adult learning community. We ask that you use your best judgment in selecting three individuals who are appropriate references, such as professors, supervisors, and people who have observed you in academic and/or professional settings. We discourage applicants from asking family members or friends to submit recommendations.

How do I submit my transcripts to BTR?

All applicants must scan copies of their transcripts [official or unofficial] and upload them directly to our online system. Applicants who have trouble uploading their transcripts can email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  Please note that official, sealed transcripts will be required from applicants who are accepted and choose to enroll to BTR.

When will I need to send paper copies of my official transcripts to BTR?

If you receive an offer of admission, you will be required to provide official, sealed copies of any transcript uploaded to your application upon enrolling to the program. Two sets of official transcripts should arrive at the BPE office via separate, sealed envelopes. Your offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of your official, final transcript(s) by mail, confirming the award date of your degree(s). Note: Boston Teacher Residency reserves the right to rescind any offer of admission if discrepancies between unofficial and official transcript(s) are found. In addition, applicants who are accepted and enrolling to BTR must submit official transcripts to UMass Boston Graduate Admissions when applying to UMass Boston.

Please see the Application Timeline and UMass Boston Application Instructions for more information.

Are there any specific admissions requirements for international applicants who are eligible to apply to BTR?

For information on eligibility, please click here. BTR requires that applicants who completed their undergraduate education outside of the United States send us official transcripts of the applicant’s complete academic record, including courses and grades, with English translations on each page validated by an official public translator. Evidence that the applicant has completed a university-level degree program must be submitted. Acceptable evidence includes official copies of diplomas, certificates, and notifications of final examination results. International applicants (who have not completed an accredited undergraduate or graduate degree in an English speaking institution) are required to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS

Does BTR accept applications from people who have applied in the past?

Yes. Re-applicants will need to complete a new prospect form. Re-applicants should also indicate on the prospect form that they have applied in the past and for which program year.

How many Residents does BTR accept in each cohort?

Last year, BTR received approximately 500 applications for 41 positions.

How does BTR assess content knowledge?

BTR believes that strong teacher candidates should come to the program with strong content knowledge in the subject/grade they would like to teach—our program does not provide preparation in content knowledge and expects residents to start the program already having demonstrated a rigorous command of the academic content.  Content knowledge can be demonstrated in a variety or combination of different ways, such pursuing a content as a major/minor/graduate course of study, having completed substantial related coursework, passing the relevant MTEL subject tests, and/or having significant other relevant experience related to the content. 

Please read our Overview of Academic Background by Content for details on how the BTR Admissions Committee would screen for content knowledge during application review. In addition to screening for content knowledge during application review, BTR also administers content-based assessments to all finalists who attend Selection Day.

In some situations, excellent candidates who meet our other selection criteria but may have small gaps in content knowledge may be given offers of acceptance that are conditional upon completing extra steps to improve their content knowledge. Promising candidates who may require an extra year of experience and professional development before meeting BTR admissions requirements are also encouraged to apply for the Dudley Promise Corps.

Financial Questions

How much is BTR tuition? How does the tuition waiver work?

BTR residents commit to teaching in BPS for three years after they graduate; as a financial incentive, BTR waives the $10,000 program tuition for graduates who successfully complete this commitment. Important note: BTR program tuition is separate from UMass Boston degree costs

    . For each of the three years of teaching completed, one third of the $10K program tuition is waived. Only graduates who do not complete the teaching commitment are billed for program tuition—BTR does not ask for an up front payment from residents.

    How much is the stipend?

    In the 2015-16 program, each Resident receives a stipend of $12,100 paid in 12 monthly installments beginning in July. BTR is required to withhold taxes. The total amount of the stipend may change from year to year.

    What is the cost of the master’s degree from UMass Boston?

    BTR has contracted with UMass Boston such that all BTR Residents (regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency) receive a discounted rate on tuition. Beginning in 2013-14, course tuition will be $600/course, or a total of $7,200 in course tuition. As enrolled graduate students, Residents may apply for student loans, which can cover the cost of tuition, and which can later be paid back in part using the AmeriCorps Education Award of $5,550 received at the end of the Residency year.

    How do most people manage their finances during the Residency year?

    As enrolled graduate students at UMass Boston, Residents are eligible to apply for student loans and loan deferment through the University. Many Residents choose to supplement their monthly stipend and cover the costs to UMass Boston and other living costs by applying for student loans; they then use the $5,550 AmeriCorps Education Award to pay back a portion of their federal student loans. Click here to download forms and access information on applying for student loans from Financial Aid Services at UMass Boston. 

    Residents in high-need areas may also be eligible for the TEACH Grant.

    Does BTR offer health insurance? Where can I find more information?

    As part of the AmeriCorps benefits, BTR is able to offer an individual health insurance plan through Corps Network and Cigna. For more information on the plan, click here

    What makes BTR an affordable route to teaching?

    BTR’s financial structure is intended to provide an affordable, high-quality pathway into teaching. Residents receive a stipend and health benefits, which can be supplemented with student loans. Upon graduation, eligible Residents receive an Education Award, which can cover up to $5,550 in qualified graduate student loans. In addition, BTR provides a financial incentive for graduates who complete their 3-year teaching commitment in the Boston Public Schools. Graduates take advantage of the opportunity to “pay back” through service rather than tuition dollars—one third of the $10K program tuition is waived after each year of teaching in the BPS. Compare the total cost of BTR to that of other teacher training programs at higher education institutions and BTR is significantly less expensive—and provides all residents with financial support throughout the year.

    Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) and Other Licensure Questions

    Are applicants required to take the MTEL before applying to BTR?

    BTR does not require applicants to have passed the required MTEL tests when they apply to the program, although it is strongly encouraged. BTR does require applicants who have taken the test to submit all past MTEL scores as a part of the application (the online application provides more detailed instructions on where to submit the scores) and applicants who take the MTEL while their application is under review may send the results to BTR Admissions so that this information can be added to their files.

    I understand that the MTEL is not a strict requirement for application or acceptance to the program. That said, is there any benefit to taking the tests before or during the application process? How might the MTEL impact my chances for admission?

    The BTR Selection Committee considers many factors when reviewing applications and interviewing candidates, including a candidate’s academic background, writing skills, and content knowledge.  In some cases, it is clear from an application that a candidate has strong content knowledge.  For example, a Selection Committee member might note that a English candidate majored in the content area and earned strong grades in related coursework.  In other cases, it is less clear whether an applicant has sufficient content knowledge; s/he may not have much related coursework and/or not have earned strong grades in those courses.  In these instances, having passed the related MTEL is another way to demonstrate content knowledge to the Selection Committee.  We encourage all candidates to apply early; in some cases, we are able to offer otherwise outstanding candidates conditional acceptances or the opportunity to be reviewed again under a later admissions cycle upon having met certain conditions, such as passing an MTEL or other assessment.

    Do enrolled residents have to take the MTEL before the start of the program?

    BTR does require that all accepted and enrolled residents pass the required MTEL tests. The policy requires that incoming residents take each test that they have not passed every month, starting the month after they enroll in BTR, until all required tests have been passed. Residents unable to meet these requirements, due to specific constraints (living in an area that does not offer MTEL) or prior commitment, must submit a formal request to miss a test date.

    BTR developed this proactive policy because a passing score on the required MTELs is a prerequisite to receive a teaching license, graduate from BTR, and teach as a licensed teacher in the Boston Public Schools. BTR is a rigorous, 13-month program and taking the MTEL before the program starts allows residents to focus on teaching and academic coursework rather than on test preparation. Furthermore, if an incoming resident has trouble passing the test, it is beneficial for BTR program staff to know about this early in order to provide him or her with additional test preparation tools and support.

    When do residents have to take/pass the MTEL?

    Residents must pass the Communications & Literacy Test and the relevant content area test by December of the residency year in order to be officially enrolled in and receive academic credit for the practicum component of the residency.

    Which MTEL tests are required for licensure?

    ALL teacher candidates are required to take Communications and Literacy Skills Test, a two-part Reading and Writing test that is offered electronically via computer based testing on a regular basis. In addition, there is a required subject test that corresponds to the grade/content you’d like to teach (e.g. ELA, Math, Chemistry, etc.) and which is either offered during the afternoon component of most paper-based test dates, or electronically via computer-based testing. Please note: Elementary candidates should take the General Curriculum test (both the Multi-subject and the Math subtests) but are not expected to take Foundations of Reading in advance of joining BTR.

    Where and when are MTEL exams offered?

    Computer-based testing is available at more than 225 Pearson Professional Centers throughout the United States and its territories (e.g., Puerto Rico), as well as at over 30 international test centers, including Canada and Mexico.

    Refer to the Pearson VUE web site at for up-to-date information about computer-based test centers, including test center addresses, real-time seat availability, and locations of test centers outside of Massachusetts.

    I'm registering to take the MTEL and don't see an option to have a score report sent directly to Boston Teacher Residency. What is the process for ensuring that BTR receives a copy?

    Alternative licensing programs are not yet listed as an option for having an official score report sent.  You will receive your own copy of the score report via email, and can simply forward that email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  Alternatively, you may make a copy of the paper version and mail it to our office.

    Where can I find test preparation resources?

    The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offers resources to help you in preparing for the MTEL. Click here for more information.

    You can obtain test information booklets here.
    You can find out about institutions that offer test preparation courses here.


    What is AmeriCorps?

    AmeriCorps is a U.S. federal government program created by the National and Community Service Trust Act in 1993. Each year, AmeriCorps offers 85,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. AmeriCorps is an opportunity to make a big difference in your life and in the lives of those around you. It’s a chance to apply your skills and ideals toward helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.

    AmeriCorps is a division of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is split into three main divisions, including AmeriCorps State and National, VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), and NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). More than 85,000 individuals join AmeriCorps annually, totaling more than 600,000 past and present members since 1994.

    For more information, please visit

    Is BTR an AmeriCorps Program?

    Yes! Boston Teacher Residency is a proud AmeriCorps program. BTR residents complete a year of service to Boston Public Schools during the residency program, and participate as members in the larger AmeriCorps service network.

    Can I join AmeriCorps if I'm not a U.S. citizen?

    You must be a U.S. citizen, national, or legal permanent resident alien of the U.S. to be an AmeriCorps member.

    Is there financial support available through AmeriCorps?

    For many AmeriCorps programs, members receive a modest living allowance. You may not save much money during your year of service, but most members find the living allowance to be adequate to cover their needs. AmeriCorps members who complete a term of service also receive an Eli Segal Education Award.  Please see the section on Financial Questions for more details.

    Can I defer student loans during my service with AmeriCorps?

    You may qualify for postponement, or forbearance, of the repayment of your loans during your service. The education award will help you pay off qualified student loans when you’re finished or can be used for future educational expenses. Contact your lender for more specific information or to confirm your loan status during AmeriCorps service.

    Are there any loan forgiveness programs or repayment plans that I might qualify for as an AmeriCorps member?

    In 2007 the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (“CCRAA”) was signed into law. In addition to other amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965, the CCRAA created two new federal programs: a new Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and a new Income-Based Repayment plan (IBR) for the repayment of federal loans. The new Income-Based Repayment plan helps to make repaying education loans more affordable for low-income borrowers, such as an AmeriCorps member living on a stipend; AmeriCorps service is also recognized as equivalent to a public service position for the purposes of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

    Is AmeriCorps status or funding guaranteed?

    Every three years, AmeriCorps Programs re-apply for funding. In June 2013, BTR secured AmeriCorps funding for the next three years.

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