FAQ: General Program Questions


What is the difference between the two pathways in the program?

Although the certification looks the same at the end of pathways on paper, the experiences are different.  In the General Education pathway, residents are placed in General Education classrooms.  About halfway through the program, these residents decide what their second endorsement choice will be: English Language Learners (ELL) or Special Education (SPED).  In the Special Education pathway, residents take the same foundational coursework as General Education residents, but they are placed in a Special Education classroom for their residency experience.  They also front-load some of their SPED coursework and commit to working as a SPED teacher upon completion of the program.


When does the program start and end?

The program starts every June, usually after Seattle Public Schools’ last day of school.  The exact start date varies from year to year due to inclement weather and scheduling changes.  The program lasts for 14 months (5 academic quarters: Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer), ending the following year in August.  Residents then transition into becoming graduates of the program and begin their 5-year teaching commitment to Seattle Public Schools at this time.


What does a resident’s schedule look like?

During the summer quarters, residents are taking coursework all day Monday through Friday.
During the academic school year, a resident is at his/her school placement all day Monday through Friday.  Coursework takes place Tuesday evenings, all day on Fridays, and one Saturday per month.


What type of time commitment is required by the program?

The program is full time and very intensive.  Typically, during the 14-month program, residents are immersed in a combination of graduate level coursework and fieldwork.  The time commitment during the school year can be up to 12 hours per day, on days there is evening coursework.  Working outside of the program is not encouraged and has proven difficult for most residents.


From what institution do residents earn their master’s degree?

Residents earn their Master in Teaching degree from the University of Washington, Seattle.

What coursework does the program offer?

See this link for sample coursework strands required by the program.


Where is coursework held?
Coursework is only held occasionally on the UW Seattle campus.  Frequently, instructors arrange for courses to take place at partner schools in SPS and are held in common spaces – extra classrooms, libraries, or auditoriums.  The faculty is committed to blending theory and practice in this program, and by hosting coursework at a school site, residents are given the opportunity to observe and practice instructional activities with elementary aged students under supervision and guidance from instructors.


What does my teacher certification look like at the end of the program?
Graduates of the STR program are eligible for a Washington State Residency Certificate.  This certificate includes an endorsement in Elementary Education (K-8).  Residents in the STR program are required to add a second endorsement – their choice of English Language Learner or Special Education.  Typically, the second endorsement is granted after completing a state required practicum during the fall of your first year teaching.


What grade levels do residents work with?
During the residency year, residents will be partnered with a mentor teacher in a Kindergarten through 5th grade classroom or a Kindergarten through 5th grade special education classroom. Our goal is to connect residents with some of the most outstanding teachers in the district who model the approaches and leadership we hope to instill in our residents. Residents who successfully complete the program will be placed in SPS elementary classrooms or special education classrooms in high needs schools and are based on district hiring needs. The goal is to increase student achievement in Seattle’s greatest need schools.


How are residents matched with mentor teachers?
There is a comprehensive mentor/resident matching process which takes place in the spring/early summer where both resident and mentor will have time to meet and identify potential partners. Mentors in the STR program must apply to be mentors and must be recommended by their principals in order to be selected. Mentors are chosen for their ability to coach others, their passion for teaching, and their exemplary classroom teaching skills. Mentors receive ongoing training and support through the program to enhance and build upon their own coaching and mentoring skills.


How does STR work with Seattle Public Schools to assist in obtaining teaching positions after the program?
While the program prepares candidates to teach in high-needs schools in Seattle, all hiring is within the exclusive authority of Seattle Public Schools (SPS).  As such, STR cannot guarantee that everyone who completes the program will be offered employment at SPS.  However, SPS is a collaborating partner in this program and residents who successfully complete the program and internship may, subject to SPS discretion, receive an initial contingency contract and may be invited to participate in Phase I of the interview process for new teachers (typically in the spring). STR residents commit to teaching in in a high needs SPS school for 5 years.


In which schools does the STR program place residents?
The exact STR program partner schools vary from year to year and are subject to change.  A list of Title I schools in SPS can be found here.


Past schools where residents have been placed include: Olympic Hills Elementary, Broadview Thomson K-8, Sanislo Elementary, Highland Park Elementary, West Seattle Elementary, Leschi Elementary, Madrona K-8, John Muir Elementary, Van Asselt Elementary, Graham Hill Elementary, and South Shore K-8.


As of 2017-18, STR graduates are teaching in 27 of the 31 Title I elementary schools in SPS.


What is my teaching commitment at the end of my residency year?
The STR program asks that all applicants who accept offers of admission commit to teaching 5 years in Seattle Public Schools after completion of their residency year.


Is STR associated with other residency programs around the country?
The Seattle Teacher Residency is one of the partner residencies in the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR).  STR receives technical support and guidance from NCTR and is able to connect with and learn from the successes and challenges of the other residencies around the country.


Who do I contact for more information?
For additional questions about the STR program or application process, please visit our “Contact Us” page.