Even though school is out for kids, some teachers are still learning throughout the summer in preparation for the next year.

Alyscia Etsitty sat through training at the Arizona Science Center on Wednesday, preparing for the centers summer camp. Participating in at least one week of camp is part of the requirement for her and other students who are part of the states teacher residency program as they take their science methods course.

Anything they learn through the camp, they can use in their classroom the next year.

The Arizona Teacher Residency program just wrapped up its first school year with 22 Northern Arizona University students learning real-world classroom experience throughout the year.

KGUN 9’s sister station ABC15 visited Etsitty in a Clarendon Elementary School classroom in September when they first started out.

Everything went smooth. The transition from beginning of the school year to the middle to the end of the school year. I feel great, me being on my own for next year, and the transition was just smooth. Im very, very well prepared, Etsitty told ABC15.

The program is meant to be like a medical residency, and its different from student teaching. In student teaching, students are usually in a classroom for several weeks, whereas teacher residency is a full-year classroom experience.

Etsitty and others learned in the beginning then eventually started teaching and taking over a class while a supervising teacher watches over.

In the residencys second year, Etsitty will be on her own and have her own classroom. She will have a supervising teacher available if she has questions.

Victoria Theisen-Homer, the director of the Arizona Teacher Residency, feels the program is doing its job in retaining and recruiting teachers during a shortage.

In the residency program, our residents will stay much longer than teachers who had zero preparation prior to entering the classroom, Theisen-Homer said.

The latest numbers from February from the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association showed there were nearly 3,000 teaching vacancies across the state. While agencies couldnt give ABC15 specific numbers on where vacancies land now, the Arizona Education Association believes the numbers could get worse.

Even though the residency program only started out with about two dozen students and a new group of 22 students start in the fall, Theisen-Homer feels they are making some sort of a dent.

The students in the first group of the program have all been hired by their partnering districts: Tempe, Osborn and Roosevelt Elementary school districts. Per the program’s rules, the student residents will also have to stay in that district for an additional two years.

So, that partner district knows they can count on that resident for four years, Theisen-Homer said.

The program will expand next school year, spreading the 22 new students out to five different school districts. Theyve added on Cartwright Elementary School District and the Scottsdale Unified School District. The expansion continues into the next year as the program received a grant that will allow them to have up to 40 students in residency.