RCSD starts fellowship for college students to get teaching experience and earn certification

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester City School District on Wednesday announced the launch of a new program to help local college students earn their New York State Teacher Certification.

It’s called the Roc Urban Teaching Fellowship Program. District officials say graduate students from Nazareth College and the University of Rochester will work in city schools to help ease the teacher shortage and get hands-on classroom experience.

The fellows will get a three-year contract, a salary with benefits, and $10,000 toward their college tuition.

“This really strengthens the requirement for our teachers and provides them the opportunity to learn for a year and be prepared for kids, so that they are providing high level instruction. And so they’re retained and prepared and not entering a classroom cold,” said Dr. Carmine Peluso, interim superintendent of RCSD.

The program is designed like a medical residency. Student teachers work full-time in classrooms with a mentor while finishing their master’s. After graduation, teaching fellows are guaranteed two years of employment in the district.

“It makes me feel better that I’m going to be more prepared to be a first-year teacher and be on my own,” said Shaylee Picow, a Nazareth College student and Urban Teaching Fellow. “I’m not as nervous and I feel like by the end of the school year, I’ll have a lot of things in my teacher toolbox that I can use for when I become a teacher. And I have to do this all by myself. And to know that I’ll have a job in the RCSD is awesome, as well.”

The program is underway at School No. 15 and School No. 23, plus East High School. This program is the first of its kind in the Rochester area.