In 2010, the Central Louisiana Academic Residency for Teachers was created through a partnership between The Orchard Foundation, The Rapides Foundation, Louisiana State University, LSU Alexandria, and the nine public school districts in Central Louisiana. The program ended in 2015, and provides an example for the types of successful partnerships The Orchard Foundation seeks.
The partnership received an $8 million federal Teacher Quality Partnership Grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase the number of qualified math and science teachers in rural schools. Along with funding from The Rapides Foundation, the federal grant funded CART, a site-based teacher program that trained qualified college graduates and paid their tuition toward a Master’s of Natural Science degree in return for a commitment to teach in Central Louisiana high schools for three years.
The Rapides Foundation conceptualized the CART project to help Central Louisiana school districts with limited resources offer rigorous education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM.
CART participants attended training at LSU during the summer months, and co-taught in a highly-qualified Mentor teacher’s classroom for one academic year. Participants also attended professional development to satisfy the Master’s degree and alternative certification requirements. The project also provided leadership training for participating CART schools in an effort to support the school environment in which the CART resident was placed and provided additional opportunities for success.
The multi-year grant resulted in six cohorts of CART participants, with the final cohort graduating in the summer of 2015. Close to 60 teachers graduated from the CART program and were placed in rural schools in Central Louisiana, improving the quality and quantity of STEM teachers and advancing the goal of increasing student achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.