What is a high-needs and hard-to-staff school?

A high-needs and hard-to-staff school is a school that may consist of many factors such as, but not limited to, unfilled teaching positions, non-certified teachers, high teacher turnover rate, and/or a high population of students who come from families with income below the poverty line.

Why consider a teacher residency program instead of the traditional teacher route?

“Completing a traditional program of teacher education as preparation for working in (urban, high-need schools) is like preparing to swim the English channel by doing laps in the university pool.” – Dr. Martin Haberman

Preparation matters. Teachers who are unprepared in curriculum, teaching methods, child development, and student teaching, leave at twice the rate of teachers who have had this training. A teacher residency program integrates research with practice to equip residents with the knowledge, skills, and experience to be prepared and effective teachers in high-needs and hard-to-staff classrooms.

What are the other perks of RTR?

In addition to stipends, there are scholarship opportunities.

All math and science residents will receive an additional $4,000 stipend.

All residents who serve Petersburg City Public Schools will receive an additional housing stipend of $382 a month for 15-months as long as the residents live in Petersburg.

All residents may receive free Praxis and VCLA test prep.

All residents may have the VCLA and Praxis tests paid for by RTR.

When is the best time to apply for RTR?

It is best to apply in the fall. In the spring, we fill our remaining openings.

Where do I find Test Prep info?

Look underneath our Application Process for a tab at the top marked, “Test Prep”.  Schedule your test prep as soon as possible. We offer test prep sessions online under our YouTube Channel (TeachRTR) as well as through face-to-face sessions during the year.

When should I apply to VCU?

You should apply to VCU within a week of applying to RTR.

Is admission to RTR like other graduate programs?

Not even close. We support you through the admissions process to discern your call to teach in high-needs and hard-to-staff schools. Expect to communicate with us often. We want to answer your questions and position you to be successful in this process.

How soon will I know whether I am offered a resident position?

You will be notified within two weeks after participating in an interview.

When is my stipend disbursed?

Your stipend is disbursed in late June, early September, and early January. The last two times are after the add/drop deadline of each semester.

Can I work during my residency year?

We do not encourage working during your residency year because this is a rigorous program. We want what little time you have to be invested in yourself — working out, sleeping, and spending time with your family and friends.

Will I receive in-state tuition even if I am not a Virginia Resident?


Free tuition? What’s the catch?

We pay for your degree because we want to help people achieve their dream of becoming a teacher. In exchange for having your degree paid for, you will sign a service agreement. This states that you agree to work as a teacher of record for the school division in which you complete your residency year in a high-needs school for three years after program completion. If you do not fulfill the three-year commitment, you will need to pay money back to RTR. Each year of employment, you work off one third of the tuition. After working for three years as a teacher in the high-needs school, you are free to teach anywhere you like!

What courses will I need to register for and when are they offered?

Your admissions team will already have given you a heads-up about any additional courses you may need for licensure when they reviewed your transcript. Then in the early summer, you will meet with your Curriculum Coordinator to map out your full schedule.

Will I get to choose my Clinical Resident Coach (mentor teacher)?

Yes and no. During the summer, we host a matching party that will give you an opportunity to meet our Clinical Resident Coaches (CRCs). This will allow us to match you with a CRC who best suits your needs.

When will I meet my CRC and find out where I will be placed for my residency year?

We typically notify residents in July after the matching parties. That way you will know the name of your CRC and the school you will be serving.

When will be my first day as a co-teacher/teaching resident?

You will begin school on the same day as your CRC. This usually occurs the third week in August.

Other questions?

Feel free to contact our Admissions Team via email at teachrtr@vcu.edu.

If you are passionate about social justice — about teaching for change — about changing lives, communities, and student outcomes — then RTR is where you need to be.