Prospective Residents

A high-needs school (often called a 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 rates of teacher turnover, and/or a high population of students who come from families with income below the poverty line.

“Completing a traditional program of teacher education as preparation for working in (urban, high-needs 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, effective teachers from day 1 of their teaching career.

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 district 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, but we hope you stay in a high-needs school!


On top of the excellent teacher preparation and having the tuition paid for the graduate-level degree, RTR provides a small additional stipend (generally around $5,000). Secondary math and science residents receive an additional stipend of approximately $4,000.

We provide tutoring support for the Praxis and VCLA teacher licensure tests and pay for residents to take each required licensure test at least one time.

Another perk of RTR is the professional network residents develop. Throughout the residency year and into the teaching career, RTR residents and alumni develop strong professional relationships with one another, the mentors they work with, and school and district leadership.

All graduate-level residents in our program receive an in-state tuition rate.

Your residency year will be pretty full. You will be a full time graduate student and spending four days per week in your residency placement. We do not encourage working on top of this because it is such a rigorous program and we want what little time you have to be spent recharging. However, we understand that residents have to make choices that are best for them. As long as you are able to fulfill all of the responsibilities of the residency and academic program, how you spend your own time is up to you.

Yes and no. We collect information from each resident and potential mentor from meetings, surveys, and personality inventories. We use this data to make the best possible matches. The resident – mentor relationship is like a professional marriage, so we want to make sure we get it right!

If your academic program begins in the summer or fall, your residency experience will begin at the start of the school year when your mentor returns for the district’s teacher work week. You will spend the entire school year (typically August to May) in your residency placement.

If your academic program begins in the spring, your residency experience will begin in January. It will continue through the end of the school year (usually around May) and will then pick up again at the beginning of the next school year. You will spend a calendar year in your residency placement.

You can still apply. We take into account your full academic history when we evaluate your transcript. We understand that people sometimes require a semester or two to get settled into college when first starting out. We would need to see improvement throughout your undergraduate coursework, and your GPA would still need to be close to 3.0.

If you have submitted your RTR application, you can continue with the interview even if you would not be able to enroll right away if accepted into the program. You can always defer enrollment to take the additional prerequisite coursework or consider a different pathway that your previous coursework is more closely aligned with.

Once your transcript review determines that you are eligible to move forward with the application process, you will be sent an email inviting you to sign up for an interview. This email will only be sent once all of your references have been submitted. We send reminders to your references on our end, but you should also reach out to remind them if they have not yet submitted the reference. Once you receive the interview invitation email, click the link and sign up for an appointment slot shown on the calendar.

You are only able to sign up for a time if an interview appointment slot has been created for that time. If you are trying to schedule your interview for a specific time on your calendar but do not see a box at that time that says “Resident Interview,” that time is not available. Please select an available time.


You need to be endorsed in the content area you teach, and your teaching assignment needs to align with one of our pathways (elementary, general special education, secondary English, secondary math, secondary science, or secondary social studies). At the elementary level, we try to pair residents with mentors who teach all four major content areas and are not departmentalized. At the secondary level, we try to pair residents with mentors who teach at least some non-AP courses.

Once you are accepted into the pool of mentors, you will stay there. In the event that you are not matched with a resident, we will keep you on the list and will try to pair you for the next school year.

Stipends are connected to the roles and responsibilities of being a mentor. The residency coordinators provide detailed information about the weight that each mentoring activity has. Stipends will be disbursed by RTR’s financial manager at the end of each semester. She will ensure that you are in the VCU system so funds can be sent directly to you.


Yes! You will receive the support of a career coach throughout your first two years of teaching.

Absolutely! You are part of the RTR family forever! We are here to support you in any way we can. We offer affinity groups, workshops, professional development opportunities, and social events to ensure that alumni can maintain a supportive network throughout their career.

Affiliated Organizations

You can send an email to teachrtr@vcu.edu, and we will set up a meeting to talk with you about a partnership!

Send an email to teachrtr@vcu.edu, and we will set up a meeting with members of our team to talk about opportunities!