Baylor Education Seniors Offered Paid Residencies

Spring 2024

May 30, 2024
Baylor senior Mallory Keehn teaching at La Vega Junior High School

Mallory Keehn, a Houston senior majoring in middle grades mathematics education, starts her school day at 7:30 a.m. as she arrives at La Vega Junior High School to teach eighth-grade pre-algebra. She teaches all day Monday through Thursday and spends Fridays on the Baylor campus with faculty and peers in seminar classes. She has been in the same local classroom all school year, a continuity that Baylor believes is important to teacher preparation.

It's a familiar routine for Baylor education seniors, who have been serving in yearlong internships for more than two decades. But there’s a big difference for Keehn and six other seniors — they are being paid by La Vega ISD.

The 2023-24 academic year marked the first opportunity for Baylor student teachers to have paid residencies. Dr. Kylah Clark-Goff, the School of Education’s director of clinical experiences and school-based partnerships, said the residency requires an expanded schedule beyond the usual internship— mostly during the Christmas holiday and after Baylor graduation until the end of school. Residents are paid for both the extra time and for their usual Baylor internship.

“Our aspiration is to work with our partner districts to offer as many paid residencies as there are students who want them,” Clark-Goff said, clarifying that because of the Baylor internship schedule, it can be difficult for students to maintain outside employment.”

During the extended schedule, districts may ask students to serve in different school venues, broadening their knowledge through a variety of settings and styles of instruction. As residents, seniors can gain significant additional experience, and Keehn said this is what drew her to the experience.

“This is an opportunity to learn a lot more and gain more teaching experience,” Keehn said. “That is what really sold it for me, and I have enjoyed being like every other teacher at the school.” But the pay was also an incentive. “It has made my living situation a lot easier,” she said.

Sandra Gibson, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at La Vega ISD, said the program is beneficial for the district, which pays the residents on the scale of a para-professional through a combination of district funds and state grants. This was La Vega’s second year to offer residencies, having employed residents the previous year from Texas Tech and Tarleton through the University Center at McLennan Community College.

“We were very excited to have Baylor come on board,” Gibson said. “The Baylor partnership brought secondary support.”

All seven of the Baylor residents at La Vega are in middle grades or secondary majors.

The program has given La Vega ISD an advantage in teacher recruitment, Gibson said, and eight of the 11 original non-Baylor residents remained as teachers following their graduation. Clark-Goff said that a district can hire the graduate as a second-year teacher, giving them an extra year of credit toward retirement.

Keehn is happy with her decision to gain extra training. “At the beginning of the year, I was worried that it would make me feel different,” she said. But she felt just like any other Baylor student and never missed a Baylor campus event due to residency scheduling. During Baylor internship, she noted, “I do the same requirements, the same assignments, the same number of lessons; the only difference is I get paid for the work I do.”