Relay today announced that it will open a new campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Relay Baton Rouge will be the institution’s eleventh campus in the country and its second in Louisiana, following the launch of Relay New Orleans in 2013. Relay comes to Baton Rouge at the invitation of local leaders, who cited strong local demand for its innovative teacher preparation programs.
“At Democracy Prep, we believe that excellent teachers are the foundation for scholar success. One of our biggest challenges every year is finding the right teachers for our growing network of schools,” said Michelle Gieg, executive director of Democracy Prep Baton Rouge, which currently runs an elementary and middle school. “By partnering with Relay, we see a unique opportunity to grow and develop our own talent through its residency program.”
Partnering with local public schools, Relay Baton Rouge will offer two programs in its inaugural year: the Relay Teaching Residency and the Baton Rouge Teacher Certification.
The Relay Teaching Residency will provide an opportunity for aspiring teachers to pursue a more gradual introduction into the teaching profession through an apprenticeship model. Through placements in local public schools, teaching residents will work with mentor teachers and will gain additional, structured opportunities for deliberate practice during the first year of the program before transitioning into a full-time teaching role during the second year of the program.
The Baton Rouge Teacher Certification will provide current teachers in Baton Rouge schools with practical, high-quality training in techniques that make the deepest impact in urban classrooms. Relay will recommend successful program participants for Louisiana state teacher certification after one year, and these individuals will have the option to continue for a second year and earn their Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.).
The first class of an estimated 30 Baton Rouge teachers will join a community of about 80 aspiring and novice teachers trained by Relay in New Orleans, as well as 40 Louisiana principals who have participated in Relay’s National Principals Academy Fellowship (NPAF) since 2013.
“What sets Relay apart from other programs is its focus on practice and helping teachers and principals build skills that they can implement immediately in the classroom,” said Kathryn Rice, Baton Rouge College Preparatory Charter School director and NPAF graduate. “I’m thrilled that my teachers will now be able to attend Relay right here in Baton Rouge.”
Relay Baton Rouge will be led by Jennifer Francis, Dean of Relay Louisiana. Norah Gillam will oversee the teacher training curriculum in Baton Rouge. The campus will be supported by New Schools for Baton Rouge, a community partnership committed to delivering excellent schools to students and families in the capital city.
“At New Schools for Baton Rouge, we’re focused on ensuring every child in our city has access to a great public school,” said Chris Meyer, CEO of New Schools for Baton Rouge. “We are excited to support Relay Baton Rouge, which will help us reach our shared vision of a city where every school works for the children they serve.”