Governor Wolf Announces $2 Million to Retain More Teachers, School Leaders

July 12, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the Pennsylvania Department of Education has awarded approximately $2 million in grants to eight universities to develop and implement year-long residency programs for teachers and principals, a critical element in his commitment to increasing and retaining the number of qualified instructors and school leaders serving the Commonwealth’s public schools.

“While Pennsylvania’s educator preparation system is one of the largest in the country, the Commonwealth faces significant challenges, including a steep decline in the number of qualified teaching candidates,” said Governor Wolf. “These grants will benefit our students by providing advanced training to better prepare teachers and school leaders to serve in our most high-need areas.”

The organizations and awards include:

Implementation/Expansion Grant Awards – Funding may be used to provide financial support to teacher or principal/school leader residents who undergo a full year of clinical experience before earning their instructional or administrative certification.

  • Drexel University, Philadelphia – $710,275
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana – $578,038
  • Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh – $157,364

Planning Grant Awards – Planning grants are used to identify and develop strategies for embedding a full year of clinical residency experience for teacher or school leader candidates within their preparation program:

  • Cabrini University, Radnor – $74,688
  • Lehigh University, Allentown – $56,771
  • Millersville University, Millersville – $75,000
  • Penn State Harrisburg, Harrisburg – $74,726
  • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia – $74,575

As part of the grant, programs must be developed in partnership with at least one high-need local education agency (LEA). A high-need LEA is one that has high rates of minority students or high rates of students in poverty, or can demonstrate chronic, multiple teacher shortages in special education, STEM subjects, or other state-identified or local shortage areas.

Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera noted that increasing the number of collaborative field-based, practical experiences was a priority recommendation within Pennsylvania’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan.

“While Pennsylvania currently requires in-field experience as part of both teacher and principal certification, stakeholders noted that these programs are often short in duration and do not provide intensive, clinical experience that increases readiness of novice teachers and principals to serve in classrooms and schools,” he said. “Residency programs provide year-long clinical experience and intensive supports, and improve coherence among educators’ pre-service experience, induction, and future professional learning.”

Since 1996, the number of undergraduate education majors in Pennsylvania has declined 55 percent, while the number of newly-issued in-state Instructional I teaching certificates has dropped by 71 percent since 2009-2010, from 15,247 to 4,412 in 2016-2017.

In addition to a declining supply of new classroom educators, many Pennsylvania districts also see high turnover rates among teachers and school leaders. In 2015-16, nearly one in every five schools in Pennsylvania experienced principal turnover.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs, please visit the Department of Education’s website at or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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