2017-01-27 / Schools

CSUCI forms fast-track to teaching

Grant-funded program aims to shave off a year of college
By Hector Gonzalez

LEARNING TO TEACH—California State University Channel Islands administrators are using a nearly $250,000 grant to develop a fast-track curriculum aimed at getting aspiring teachers into classrooms a full year earlier than normal. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing awarded $8 million last month to colleges and universities to develop teacher-preparation programs. LEARNING TO TEACH—California State University Channel Islands administrators are using a nearly $250,000 grant to develop a fast-track curriculum aimed at getting aspiring teachers into classrooms a full year earlier than normal. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing awarded $8 million last month to colleges and universities to develop teacher-preparation programs. Responding to a statewide teacher shortage, California State University Channel Islands administrators are using a nearly $250,000 grant to develop a fast-track curriculum aimed at getting aspiring teachers into classrooms a full year earlier than normal.

Facing a void of teachers with credentials in bilingual education, special education, and science and mathematics, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing awarded $8 million last month to colleges and universities to develop teacher preparation programs.

Normally, after graduating with four-year degrees, aspiring teachers must take an additional year of school to earn their credentials. The program CSUCI officials plan to roll out by fall 2018 will allow students to earn their credentials during their fourth year in college, officials said.

“They’ll be taking undergraduate courses, but they’ll be equivalent to credential courses,” said education professor Bob Bleicher, who applied for the grant. “They’ll be able to go out and teach after their fourth year. You can actually apply for a job during the final semester of your senior year.”

The new curriculum will provide students with a specific set of classes they’ll need to complete to get their credentials ahead of time.

“There will be an exact sequence of courses,” Bleicher said. “There’ll be no guessing. If you want to start teaching after graduating, you’ll need to take these exact courses.”

CSUCI administrators are working with Ventura County Office of Education officials to inform high school students about the program, he said.

“Every high school grad in 2017 will have an opportunity” to enroll in the program in 2018, Bleicher said.

University officials are also working with career counselors at Oxnard College, who will make sure students interested in the program can begin taking some of the required courses while attending the two-year school.

“We did a lot of co-planning for this program,” Bleicher said.

In California, where voters approved a new law in November that gives public school districts more control in developing their own bilingual programs, the number of credentialed bilingual instructors fell from more than 1,200 in 2009-10 to less than 900 by 2012-13, according to the California Teachers Association.

CSUCI officials hope the new grant will enable the college to triple the number of new teachers it graduates with credentials in science, math, and bilingual and special education. Last year, the university had 125 students graduate from the credential program, a CSUCI official said.

The CSU system graduates some 6,500 credentialed teachers a year, CSUCI spokesperson Kim Lamb Gregory said.

By shaving off a year of college, students in the integrated curriculum program can save about $20,000, said Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, assistant vice chancellor for the CSU system said.

New teachers also qualify for various teacher incentive grants from the state and federal governments, which can add up to as much as $16,000, Grenot-Scheyer said.

“There’s never been a better time to enter the profession given these new flexible credentialing options and financial incentives,” she said.

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