Centers for Applied Science and Technology Schools officials said April 4 that their chain of tuition-free public campuses received a $40,000 grant from the Firstmark Foundation that will be used to boost teacher recruitment and retention.

What happened: The $40,000 grant, CAST Schools officials said, will help measure the costs and benefits of CAST’s teacher attraction and retention programming, and also support collaborative materials to lure more teachers to CAST’s teacher residency program at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

The takeaway: According to CAST Schools officials, the goal here is to create a financial tool for universities and other stakeholders towards long-term efforts to demonstrate the feasibility of self-sustaining teacher residency programs. Texas A&M University-San Antonio has placed clinical teachers at CAST Schools for a yearlong rather than a semester-long residency, with several students spending two full years at the campus before becoming teachers.

What they’re saying: “The first few years of teaching are the make-or-break period for new teachers. We are committed to encouraging teachers as they enter the field and making their experience a positive and joyful one so that they stay,” CAST Schools Executive Director Jeanne Russell said in a statement.