Office of the Provost

Innovative educator preparation: Partnering with Harrisonburg City Public Schools


The College of Education has undertaken an innovative, pilot teacher residency program in collaboration with Harrisonburg City Public Schools (HCPS). Each resident, a JMU fifth year elementary education student, is matched with a classroom teacher who serves as a resident coach throughout the school year. The residents will be co-teaching with the same teacher, in the same classroom, in one of the schools in the Harrisonburg City Public School system for the entire school year. In this co-teaching arrangement, the residents experience aspects of a school that many students may not necessarily be exposed to during a typical student teaching experience. 

All JMU student residents are enrolled in graduate coursework in order to complete the Masters of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program requirements and receive a stipend for their involvement in the schools. During the fall semester, the residents co-teach four days a week; one day a week is designated for graduate classwork with JMU professors. During the spring semester, graduate students are in the schools co-teaching every day of the week. Upon successful completion of the residency year, students will be offered a contract with Harrisonburg City Public Schools, with the expectation that they fulfill their teaching commitment to HCPS.

According to the four founding residency participants, being able to start the year with their elementary school students and see progress all the way through to the end gives them a goal to work toward. JMU students are building relationships with children in the community, not just for the eight-week period that is typically allotted for student teaching but, throughout the entire school year. As they spend more time with the students throughout the year, they will learn more with support of their partner teacher. Given this independence, they feel more fully prepared to teach in their own classroom after graduation.

Congratulations to JMU student residents Kristine Chipman, Anna Kocka, Janelly Lopez and Zoe Slobodin for being a fantastic part of JMU history, for being risk takers and for working so hard to make this program a reality. The residency experience is ever-growing; the group refers to it as “changing the wheels of a moving school bus.” Although the program is always evolving, these girls and the faculty associated with the program, Dr. Teresa Harris and Dr. Michelle Hughes, are working hard with the HCPS teachers and the school to make it a successful endeavor. The reality is that these fantastic women are using everything they have learned through JMU and putting it into practice in new and exciting ways.

Published: Friday, October 7, 2016

Last Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2018

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