RIC/Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy partnership to offer  yearlong residency program for student teachers  

The Feinstein School of Education and Human Development at Rhode Island College and Blackstone Valley Prep (BVP) Mayoral Academy have partnered to develop a new yearlong teaching residency program, slated to begin in the 2012-13 school year.

Four RIC students will spend a year in BVP classrooms to fulfill the requirement for dual state certification in elementary education and special education. The four residents will work side-by-side with BVP team members in second- and third-grade classrooms. They will be monitored and supervised like any traditionally placed student teachers, but will take on more responsibilities for a longer period of time. Residents will each receive a $10,000 stipend.

In March 2011, Rhode Island College President Nancy Carriuolo and Sasha Sidorkin, dean of the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development, toured Blackstone Valley Prep. They were joined by RIC Associate Dean Karen Castagno and Assistant Dean Eileen Sullivan, who will lead the partnership project. Last fall, RIC student teachers began working in classrooms at the academy, which includes several RIC graduates on its faculty.

Carriuolo said, “When I toured Blackstone Valley Prep, I was very impressed by the thriving learning environment. For 158 years, Rhode Island College has been educating teachers and preparing them for the challenges of the classroom. I am proud that we established a partnership with BVP that has enabled our student teachers to acquire the skills they need to educate our future leaders. With the introduction of the new residency program, we are taking this mutually beneficial relationship to the next level.”

Sasha Sidorkin
Sidorkin added, “Through this innovative initiative, Rhode Island College students will have the opportunity to receive extensive hands-on training at a great local school, and Blackstone Valley Prep can count these new teachers to be there as residents for the entire school year.

Jeremy Chiappetta, executive director at BVP Mayoral Academy, said that the initiative will “support our work to ensure 100 percent of Blackstone Valley Prep scholars receive a college preparatory education while providing an innovative environment for teachers-in-training eager to apply the knowledge and skills they gained while at RIC.”

“We are especially excited by the enthusiasm and eagerness expressed by the four residents to learn how best to serve students with special needs in a high-expectations environment,” Chiappetta added.

“I want to recognize the forward thinking of Blackstone Valley Prep,” Sidorkin said. “This is an example of a partnership where the needs and resources of both participants truly complement each other.”

In addition to the residency program, Rhode Island College and Blackstone Valley Prep also enjoy another connection. Each classroom bears the name of a college or university, and one of the classrooms is a “RIC Room,” filled with mementos from the college.