Virginia State University Students Get Classroom Experience in City Schools

The Virginia State University College of Education has announced a new teacher residency program to help with a teacher shortage in local schools and provide future educators with an immersive educational experience.

Finding quality teachers has been a struggle for the city of Petersburg in recent years, much like for schools nationwide. When Petersburg realized some of their K-12 classrooms would be overcrowded this upcoming school year, they came to the university seeking stellar students interested in doing an early teacher residency. The city and the university established HERO, or Hybrid Education Residency Opportunity program. It is a comprehensive and innovative program that combines coursework and practical teaching in an actual classroom setting.

Virginia State students will have their own classrooms. Each student will also have a designated assistant to help with classroom management and answer questions. Another key benefit of the program is that students will be compensated for their work, receiving the same pay as a long-term substitute. Their university coursework will be asynchronous, giving students plenty of time outside of Petersburg school hours to complete their assignments.

“This program allows our students to get early training in the profession that they want to enter,” said Willis Walter, dean of the College of Education. “They are making real connections and learning things in the classroom that you can’t just get out of a book. There are so many programs that fail because they only prepare students for short-term success. However, this program will allow students to build relationships with students, parents, and other teachers while gaining knowledge and experience to be successful long-term.”

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