Campus: Bakersfield -- January 11, 2006

CSUB awarded $968,078 for language literacy program

California State University, Bakersfield has been chosen to receive one of eight statewide grants for a new project aimed at improving academic skills for math and science students in the Delano Joint Union High SchoolDistrict.

CSUB was awarded a four-year grant of $986,078 by the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) in a statewide competition last November. During the course of the project, titled Content Academic Language Literacy Instruction (CALLI), 60 Delano teachers will receive intensive training and site-based coaching so they can strengthen the reading, writing, and speaking skills needed by their students to increase achievement. About 4,000 students will be impacted by this program.

Emilio Garza and Debra Cook-Hirai are co-directors of CSUB’s CALLI project and state the high percentage of English learners in the Delano Joint High School District pose a unique challenge for teachers in this area. “With over 31 percent of the families in this district identified as low poverty and 48 percent of students identified as English learners there is a definite need to increase student achievement through extensive staff development for all math and science secondary teachers in the area,” they said.

Cook-Hirai said that even though math and science scores in Delano have risen in the last year, “the teachers in Delano are extremely receptive to new ideas and concepts which will further increase CST (California Standards Test) scores and student motivation.” Garza said, “They are especially interested in the peer coaching aspect, where their own peers present and model lessons so they can become better in their own teaching. They want the project to support teachers and not to be ‘evaluative’ and we at the university are very supportive of that.”

Cook-Hirai added, “The program is an intensive effort to build a professional development model which is proven effective for increasing student achievement and motivation in the classroom without increasing teacher ‘burnout,’” she explained. “It will also enable CSUB’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the School of Education to work collaboratively in the field.”

She said, “This program also intends to build a professional development model which can be used in other schools across the state. Building partnerships with school districts and other schools within CSUB is a critical factor, which has not been emphasized enough. Additionally, this project will also be a model for demonstrating collaboration between the university and local school agencies.”

The grant is part of the federal Improving Teacher Quality Program funded under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. It is the latest edition of a long-standing federal program aimed at improving student achievement through professional development for teachers.

For more information on CPEC, log onto www.cpec.ca.gov. For information about the state program, contact Karen Humphrey, Administrator, Improving Teacher Quality Program, at (916)
445-1504 or khumphrey@cpec.ca.gov. For information on the CSUB project, please contact Cook-Hirai at (661) 654-3129 or Garza at (661) 654-3462.


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