What is West Michigan Teacher Collaborative?
West Michigan Teacher Collaborative is an initiative to recruit, develop and retain the next generation of teachers in West Michigan. It is led by Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa Area ISDs, the public school districts within them, and Grand Valley State University.
What are the options for participation?
There are three options for participation -
1. Residency for those with a Bachelor’s degree in any field - This program is for those who would like to become a teacher and already hold a bachelor’s degree in any field. We help them earn teacher certification and assist them in securing a full-time teaching position.
2. Pre-Residency for those with at least 30 college credits - This program is for those who would like to become a teacher, and already have a handful of college credits, but have not completed a Bachelor's degree. We help them earn their degree, earn teacher certification, and ultimately assist them in securing a full-time teaching position.
3. Endorsements & Advanced Degrees for current teachers - This option is available to currently certified teachers employed by a partner district and looking to gain advanced endorsements or graduate degrees.
How much does it cost to participate?
There is no cost to participate. In fact, West Michigan Teacher Collaborative pays for tuition and coursework for all three program options, plus ensures each participant has a paid position within a partner school during their Pre-Residency and Residency.
How do participants get into the program?
Participants must apply online and be accepted into one of the programs.
Current teachers applying for the Endorsements & Advanced Degrees track must also obtain a recommendation from their current principal, curriculum director or superintendent.
Candidates of color and individuals from other marginalized groups are highly encouraged to apply.
How is the Collaborative funded?
West Michigan Teacher Collaborative is funded in part by a $19 million grant from the Future Proud Michigan Educator Grow Your Own Programs for School Staff.
How many participants does the grant support?
Currently, West Michigan Teacher Collaborative expects to support 300 existing and new teachers across all three programs.
What benefits and supports do districts receive as partners in this grant?
In addition to excellent new teachers and up-skilled existing staff who participate in our programs, partner districts receive -
- Funding to cover substitutes on days when WMTC participants need release time for cohort requirements
- Funding to provide stipends to mentor teachers
- Funding to further develop programming in grades 6-12 that inspires young people to pursue a career in education
How long is the Residency commitment?
The Residency program is a three-year commitment, with one year being the completion of a Teaching Certificate and two years of cohort support during the first year of teaching.
How much does West Michigan Teacher Collaborative pay Residency participants?
Participants in the Residency program receive up to a $20,000 living stipend on top of the salary they receive from the district where they are employed as a paraprofessional, aide or other student-facing role.
What happens at the end of the Residency?
Upon successful completion of the Residency program, participants receive their teaching certificate and are eligible to be hired as a lead teacher with job placement support from West Michigan Teacher Collaborative.
After working as a lead teacher for 2-3 years, Residents are eligible and encouraged to become Mentor Teachers for future cohorts of West Michigan Teacher Collaborative participants.
How long does it take to finish the Pre-Residency?
This depends on the number of college credits a participant needs to complete their Bachelor's degree when they enter the program. Some may finish their degree in a matter of months, while others may take up to two years. Grand Valley State University's Academic Advisors help participants find the fastest route to completing their degree.
How long is the commitment?
Participants in the Pre-Residency program may take anywhere from a few months to two years to complete their Bachelor's degree. Following the Pre-Residency, participants step into the Residency program for one full year.
What happens at the end of the Pre-Residency?
Following the Pre-Residency, participants step into the Residency program for one full year. Upon completing the entire program, participants are then eligible and encouraged to become Mentor Teachers for future cohorts of West Michigan Teacher Collaborative participants.
Endorsements & Advanced Degrees
Who can apply for the Endorsements & Advanced Degrees program?
Certified teachers, currently employed in a West Michigan Teacher Collaborative partner district are eligible to apply for the Endorsements & Advanced Degrees program.
How much does West Michigan Teacher Collaborative pay toward Endorsements & Advanced Degrees?
Current, certified teachers accepted into the Endorsements & Advanced Degrees program may have up to 100 percent of their tuition cost, books and other learning materials covered by West Michigan Teacher Collaborative.
How long does it take to complete an Endorsement or Advanced Degree?
Endorsement and Advanced Degree programs take 1.5 to 3 years to complete.
Which Endorsements & Advanced Degrees are available through WMTC?
A current list of endorsements and degrees can be found on the Endorsements & Advanced Degrees program page.