La Salle partners with Archdiocese of Philadelphia for education residency program

August 23, 2023

The two-week intensive summer course was the start for this cohort of students to receive an undergraduate degree in education.  

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is looking to develop talent from within their system to create a teacher pipeline with a little help from La Salle University.  

As the teacher shortage affects school systems across the country, many are finding ways to “grow their own” through various certification initiatives. La Salle is partnering with the Archdiocese to help provide an institution to do just that.  

A cohort of over 25 students spent two weeks on campus from mid-July to early August for the Archdiocese Residency Program. This intensive course is the first step to receiving an undergraduate education degree with pre-K through fourth grade certification from La Salle.  

Laura Roy, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of education, (top left) presents a lesson to students.

Laura Roy, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of education, said the cohort members are coming from various backgrounds. Some have experience working in K-12 classrooms as aides or support staff, while others are making a complete career transition. 

The students also have various levels of education ranging from high school diplomas to four-year degrees in another area. 

“No matter their background, these are people who are committed to being a teacher,” Roy said.     

The program is funded through grants obtained by Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Elementary Education.  

“It incentivizes their employees to remain teachers in the diocese,” Roy said.

University President Dan Allen, Ph.D., meets with students during final presentations.
University President Dan Allen, Ph.D., meets with students during final presentations.

The two-week intensive course focused on teaching methods and the Catholic Identity domain in teaching and learning. Students finished the program with a final project that consisted of creating a lesson plan and presenting it to their peers for feedback.  

Andrew McLaughlin, Ed.D., ’80, MA ’85, secretary for elementary education in the Archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Education, said La Salle received the residency program partnership because of its quality Education Department.  

A graduate of La Salle’s Education Department, McLaughlin said the University’s is well known for its reputation of developing excellent teachers.  

“As a principal for almost two decades, you had to hire La Salle graduates early in the summer because by early August they were all employed. I feel fortunate to be able to have this partnership with La Salle University,” McLaughlin said.  

Sister Edward William Quinn, I.H.M., Archdiocese of Philadelphia assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction, and assessment, teaches students during a presentation.

He added graduates are sought after by schools because of their attention to detail, student teaching experience, and knowledge on educational topics that they receive while studying.

Students will continue to complete the degree program with two courses a semester funded by the Archdiocese. The classes will be taken in a virtual, synchronous format in the evening program.  

McLaughlin said this pipeline has been crucial to having certified teachers in the classroom.  

“Without this program I don’t know where we’d be,” he said. 

— Meg Ryan