Campus: CSU, Northridge -- October 10, 2000

CSUN Receives Nearly $1.2 Million for Program That Changes the Way Future Teachers Learn

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Cal State Northridge nearly $1.2 million over the next five years for a new education program designed to prepare teachers for the urban classroom.

The $1,198,921 grant went to the Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP), which significantly changes the way teachers are prepared by changing how future teachers learn content knowledge, teach and use technology as a tool for improving student achievement in elementary schools.

Arlinda Eaton, associate dean of CSUN's College of Education and one of the program's coordinators, said she was ecstatic about receiving the grant.

"I don't think it's really set in yet," Eaton said. "We're especially excited about the scholarship component within the grant that allows us to provide students with financial support so they can in fact participate in a program that requires them to be full-time students."

The grant was one of eight given by the U.S. Department of Education to programs designed to better train teachers for the challenges of today's classrooms.

"Effective teachers are the most critical link to educational excellence and to creating a life long love of learning in our children," said U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley in announcing the awards. "The reform movement in teacher preparation is very much alive, and I hope that the promising practices these grants produce will be replicated nationwide and put into practice in classrooms and teacher colleges around the nation."

The Department of Education grants support partnerships involving one or more college or university teacher preparation programs, the school of arts and sciences at the school, and a high-need school district. A school district is considered high-need if at least one of its elementary or secondary schools has 50 percent or more of its students from families with incomes below the poverty line, more than 34 percent of its secondary teachers are not teaching in the content area in which they were trained to teach, or 15 percent or more of its teachers have left in the last three years.

Eaton, Naomi Bishop, director of CSUN's liberal studies program, and Hillary Hertzog, assistant professor of elementary education, are working with the Los Angeles Unified School District in developing their program.

Eaton said ITEP hopes to recruit students "from the very communities that so badly need knowledgeable and skilled teachers."

"Recruitment strategies, scholarship support and academic support will be used to attract high school and community college transfer students from underrepresented communities into a program designed to guide them through rigorous subject matter and content study that will result in a bachelor's degree and a teaching credential," she said.

Eaton said ITEP is designed to feature new approaches to the study of content knowledge and the application of that knowledge to the education of kindergarten through sixth grade students.

The program features blended courses, team teaching, paired courses and early and ongoing field experiences in LAUSD classrooms linked to the subject matter course work, with an emphasis on diversity and the literacy needs of urban children. It also includes the establishment of a collaborative peer support system and a virtual professional development center focused on the support of subject matter knowledge, best practice and collaboration.

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