teachers being mentored

Targeting Long-Term Solutions for Petersburg Schools

When The Cameron Foundation began investigating proactive strategies to support schools in its region, a number of indicators pointed to Petersburg City Public Schools (PCPS) as having the greatest need. Petersburg lagged behind all other districts in test scores, graduation rates and dropout rates over a 10-year period. Childhood poverty levels and teacher retention data also called attention to Petersburg.

The Foundation’s work with the PCPS school board and administration led to funding an in-depth, independent review and strategic plan, Innovate 2022. A key finding was revealed: In past years, nearly one out of every five teaching positions in PCPS had been filled by a substitute teacher. Ultimately, a teacher residency program was chosen as the best option to respond to this pressing need.

In the spring of 2017, the Foundation engaged VCU College of Education’s Richmond Teacher Residency (RTR) program to pilot the model in Chesterfield County’s Ettrick Elementary School. Cameron’s award of $62,000 placed three RTR teacher residents there. The Foundation also studied the viability of scaling the program in Petersburg schools, which has resulted in the development of a five-year implementation plan. Cameron’s subsequent approval of $350,382 to launch this innovative program in the 2018-2019 academic year is projected to yield long-term outcomes for the Petersburg school division.