Now welcoming its eighth cohort of students as an independent institution, Relay Graduate School of Education has grown from a student body of about 300 aspiring teachers to working with over 3,500 aspiring teachers and 1,200 school leaders across the country this fall. Today, Relay is the nation’s largest teacher residency program with 90 percent of its alumni choosing and remaining with a career in education.
“All young students deserve a quality education,” said Relay President Mayme Hostetter. “That starts with providing opportunities for teachers to feel supported while learning the skills necessary to build a classroom of motivated students. Seven years in and the gift of practice continues to be central in our work. It is through practice where teachers and leaders learn to be effective in the classroom from day one.”
Over the last year, Relay’s growth prompted the opening of three new campuses including Atlanta, Rochester and the San Francisco Bay Area—each campus designed to prepare teachers or develop school leaders. Along with teacher preparation programs, Relay also serves principals, principal supervisors and other instructional leaders, helping to sharpen and refine their skills in their school community. In the fall, Relay expects to welcome 1,200 school leaders, nearly doubling leadership enrollment from the previous year.
“Each year, there is a need for qualified and diverse teachers in our schools,” said Jondré Pryor, Head of Schools at KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools. “I’m excited for Relay’s work in preparing teachers, but also for our school leaders to take part in programs to improve their skills. There’s always room for improvement.”
In Texas, Relay is expanding its work to include new partners such as the Fort Worth Independent School District. This new program will provide a pathway for employees within the school district who aspire to be credentialed teachers.
“The best teachers are those who understand our community and want to help it flourish,” said Superintendent Kent Scribner, Fort Worth Independent School District. “We have amazing paraprofessionals and others who already know our students, families and school cultures. By providing an opportunity for these individuals to become teachers, we are investing in those who are already committed to the long-term success of our students.”
In Washington, D.C., Relay, DC Public Schools, and E.L. Haynes are working together to increase the focus on improving outcomes and narrowing the achievement gap for exceptional learners. Through this partnership, Relay will support 30 general education teachers, special education teachers, and school leaders in their goals to truly impact outcomes for students with special needs. In the first year of this collaborative effort, Relay’s work will focus on Universal Design for Learning, which will increase teacher ability to address the learner variability across their classrooms.
Additionally, demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instruction in schools is on the rise. As a result, preparing a qualified supply of STEM teachers has and will continue to be important to school districts across the country. Relay has partnered with 100Kin10 to increase the number of STEM educators nationwide. Of the 3,500 current and aspiring teachers enrolled at Relay, about 20 percent are pursuing teaching STEM-related subjects making Relay one of the largest producer of STEM teachers in the country.
Relay’s teacher preparation program has been noted for preparing a pool of diverse candidates, including recent college graduates, experienced professionals and career changers, all of whom aspire to enter the teaching profession. By partnering up with organizations like the Fellowship of Black Male Educators in Philadelphia and, more recently, Man Up in Memphis, Relay hopes to increase the number of Black male educators which is currently two percent nationwide.