Relay Teaching Residency features Relay’s traditional master’s program plus four distinct program pillars that serve to prepare residents to be effective first-year teachers. The program pillars serve to create differentiated and targeted support as residents acquire and integrate new knowledge and skills to hone their craft.
Practice is one of the most valuable things a teacher can do to develop their craft.
At Relay, we believe that practice helps teachers build clarity and confidence in planning and delivery of lessons. Deliberate practice (DP) — a focus on the concrete and specific teaching skills necessary to maximize impact in the classroom — is a cornerstone of the Resident training experience. Residents participate in weekly three-hour DP sessions to develop and hone their teaching skills. These DP sessions complement and support Relay’s master’s classes. For example, in conjunction with Relay classroom-culture coursework, Residents practice responding to common classroom-culture scenarios by applying strategies that they learn in their coursework. Residents review instructional videos, participate in short bursts of practice to isolate particular teaching skills, and rehearse portions of upcoming lessons. Throughout DP, Relay faculty and peers provide ample individual feedback to Residents, then ask residents to apply that feedback and reflect to continuously improve. DP serves as a performance accelerator to help prepare residents for full-time teaching.
Assessments and Gateways
Since Relay is a performance- and proficiency-based program, there are multiple performance assessments throughout the year to determine whether residents are making adequate progress toward becoming full-time teachers. Assessments vary by content and are scored based on customized performance rubrics.
Gateway assessments serve as checkpoints to both identify and communicate whether residents are on track to becoming full-time teachers. As such, proficiency levels determine Residents’ ability to continue in the program with their cohort. Residents are evaluated by the Relay faculty and their school-based Resident Advisors on Gateway rubrics, with Relay faculty determining the final score for Residents. There are three possible responses to the Gateways:
- If residents are proficient, then they will move ahead.
- If residents fail to pass a Gateway on their first attempt, then they will receive extra remediation and will be assessed again.
- Should residents fail a Gateway multiple times, therefore failing to demonstrate readiness to take on further instructional responsibilities and move on with their cohort, they may be dismissed from the Relay Teaching Residency program.
If residents do not receive full-time teaching offers by the end of the spring term in their first year of the program, they have until the first day of the following fall term to secure employment in order to continue in the program. For academic year 20–21, if residents do not receive full-time teaching offers by June 7, 2021 (last day of the spring 2021 term) they will have until September 7, 2021 (first day of the fall 2021 term) to obtain a full-time teaching placement or face program dismissal.
Gateways topics include:
- Gateway 1: Mindsets and Expectations: Residents will demonstrate the mindsets of an effective teacher, including high expectations, personal responsibility, intentionality, continuing improving effectiveness, humility, and respect.
- Gateway 2: Classroom Culture: Residents will demonstrate proficiency in upholding a safe, welcoming, and engaging classroom culture. Residents will set clear expectations, ensure strong engagement, and respond appropriately to off-task behavior to keep students invested.
- Gateway 3: Introducing New Material: Residents will demonstrate proficiency in introducing new material to ensure they are able to clearly plan and deliver content. Residents will be expected to effectively introduce new material and concepts to students while addressing key points and misconceptions.
- Gateway 4: Teaching a Full Lesson: Residents will be observed teaching a lesson in their schools to determine their readiness to take on more classroom responsibility and run a classroom the following year. They will demonstrate proficiency in teaching a full block without assistance and ensure that students are moving toward meaningful outcomes. While Gateway 4 will be scored on a number of rows, Residents must demonstrate proficiency in checking for understanding and executing student practice.
- Gateway 5: Full Time Teaching Placement: Residents will demonstrate readiness to be a full-time teacher of record by interviewing and being hired for the upcoming academic year.
Resident Advisor (RA)
Each participant in the Relay Teaching Residency is hired by a partner school and placed with an RA whose classroom serves as a home base during the apprenticeship year. RAs can be current instructional leaders or strong teachers who do not yet have leadership responsibilities. Relay will work with schools to select each RA, though roles and selection will vary by program.
The RAs will fulfill several responsibilities to assist in the development of Residents, including:
- Modeling and Co-Teaching: Residents will spend at least one block each day observing instruction and assisting in the RAs’ classrooms. In addition to assigning the RA, partner schools may identify other effective teachers for residents to observe; Residents should observe strategically to see a diversity of teachers in action.
- Curriculum and Lesson Planning: The RAs will provide ongoing support by checking in with the residents for 30–60 minutes each week. In part, this time should be spent sharing and reviewing lessons and materials for that week, as well as outlining how residents will participate in upcoming lessons. Residents are expected to internalize the RAs’ weekly lesson plans, even when residents are not responsible for teaching them. During deliberate practice (DP) sessions, Residents will use the RAs’ lesson plans for DP simulations to help residents absorb instructional content and apply appropriate teaching strategies.
- Communication: The RAs will be the primary liaison between Relay and the school partners. As such, they will communicate about Residents’ progress and performance at school. Relay’s faculty will keep the RAs informed about Residents’ learning and upcoming Relay assessment requirements.
- Feedback and Gateway Scoring: The RAs should use weekly meetings as an opportunity to provide residents with instructional and professional feedback. As the primary coaches at the school level, RAs should observe residents in action and provide concrete action steps so residents are consistently pushed to grow as teachers. RAs will also be asked to formally score residents on the gateway rubrics to give a school perspective on their progress to date.
Gradual On-Ramp to Teaching
The Relay Teaching Residency will provide residents with a carefully designed and structured on-ramp into teaching. Residents will teach more and take on increased responsibilities in the classroom as their skills develop and the academic year progresses. For example, after residents have learned about classroom culture, they will be asked to take on the responsibility of running transitions or setting the tone in the first few minutes of class to hone their skills. Proficiency and readiness to take on more teaching opportunities are dependent on school assessment of performance and the Relay Gateways. By spring, Residents should be ready to move into more consistent teaching of at least one period a day in order to build stamina and demonstrate readiness for full-time teaching the following year. In the final weeks of the year, it is recommended that residents lead-teach for multiple weeks to acclimate to the schedule of a full-time teacher. If residents demonstrate proficiency, the partner schools may accelerate their on-ramp in coordination with Relay.
All programmatic supports are intended to work in concert with one another. Thus, Residents learn about a concept during a core or methods class, then will both observe their Resident Advisor using this concept and apply it during deliberate practice. Through the gradual on-ramp, Residents will take on additional teaching responsibilities, allowing them to put this concept into action and be evaluated for proficiency through the Gateway assessments.
 Candidates enrolled in educator preparation programs in some states may be required to obtain a position as a teacher of record in the second year of the program.
 For Relay Connecticut only, there are a total of six Gateways. The Connecticut Residency program provides an alternate route to certification that operates on a four-term schedule, and by necessity adds an additional Gateway to the program.