The National Commission on Excellence in Education’s landmark report A Nation at Risk(1983) identified significant problems facing America’s schools. Nevertheless, more than three decades later, teacher recruitment and retention are among the challenges that still confront the nation’s public schools. While initiatives such as vouchers, charter/magnet schools, and high-stakes testing have focused on students, they have had little impact on teacher recruitment and/or retention. However, during the past several years, school districts, non-profit organizations, and colleges/universities have collaborated in establishing teacher residency programs (TRPs). These programs are notable for providing teacher candidates with an extended clinical experience (one year) in the classroom of a master teacher.

Another innovative aspect of TRPs is their focus on recruiting teacher candidates for critical-needs subject areas and/or for high-needs schools/school districts. Preliminary data suggest that TRPs are successfully meeting some of the challenges associated with teacher recruitment and retention. In South Carolina, there are several established and emerging programs that incorporate various components of TRPs, making them a promising development in the ongoing attempt to improve the state’s public schools.