CSUDH gets $2 million Federal Grant to Recruit, Train Teachers for High-Need Schools in L.A., Lynwood School Districts
A $2 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education will be used to fill in the last gap in a program at California State University, Dominguez Hills aimed at getting many ore highly qualified teachers into struggling, hard-to-staff schools in the Los Angeles Unified (LAUSD) and Lynwood Unified school districts. It is the biggest of the grants in California and seventh-largest in the nation. In this first year of the grant, CSUDH was given $418,572.
"This is the second Transition to Teaching grant we've gotten here in the last two years in the College of Education," says Kamal Hamdan, director of the Transition to Teaching Program in the Teacher Education Division of the College of Education. The other, in 2004, was a five-year grant of $1.7 million.
"We are on a mission," Hamdan says. "It is our goal to staff all of the high-need schools, the hard-to-staff schools, in those two school districts. They need highly qualified math, science, and Special Education teachers, as defined by No Child Left Behind, who also know how to meet their particular needs. With this grant, I feel we'll be offering a really comprehensive program. This, with the grant monies received in 2004, means we can recruit teachers from more areas."
The grants allow the Transition program to recruit from recent graduates who were not education majors, current students who are not education majors but are studying math and science, mid-career professionals, para-professionals, and immigrant professionals.
The grant will be used to identify potential teachers, recruit them, train them to teach, help them get the appropriate credentials, and place them in jobs in schools that have been struggling with low scores and limited resources for at least a three-year stay. The entire program must meet state certification and licensing requirements. Under the program, participants will be able to earn a teaching credential in only one year while working full time as a paid intern teacher. Some of the classes leading to a teaching credential will be held at the schools where they work. Community college students with backgrounds in math and science will be able to enter CSU Dominguez Hills as juniors in an accelerated pathway leading to a bachelor's degree and teaching credential.
"We educate the recruited students on how to teach in such schools, which can have factors not found in other schools. After we place them, we don't just leave them there," the director emphasizes. "We give them frequent help. During their first three years as teachers, we have them meet on a regular basis with others in their cohort and with experienced, successful teachers, and they share what they've learned about best practices. We also provide math coaches to the math teachers."
The Department of Education doled a total of $11.8 million in grants for Transition to Teaching programs. The grants went to 31 colleges, universities, and school districts nationally. The primary thrust of the grants is to help school districts meet No Child Left Behind requirements, and the grants are given only to institutions whose grant proposals meet stringent requirements. The proposals submitted by Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Long Beach were named among the best in the nation by the Department of Education. Dominguez Hills and the two other CSU campuses received 8.5 percent of all of the federal support nationally, and they received all of the federal grant money awarded to California institutions under the Transition to Teaching program.
"We are pleased to be recognized in such a significant way by the U.S. Department of Education," says Lynne Cook, dean of the College of Education at CSUDH. "This, along with our other grants for preparing teachers in math, science, and special education, demonstrates the significant respect our programs have earned nationally.
"I am especially proud to be associated with the talented and committed faculty, students, and school partners involved in these programs," Cook says. "They not only address the teaching areas of greatest shortage, they are also dedicated to serving high-need schools."
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