San Diego State University -- September 12, 2003

SDSU'S School Of Teacher Education Wins National Award For Leadership And Innovation

University Honored for City Heights K-12 Credential Program

San Diego State University's School of Teacher Education has won the prestigious Christa McAuliffe Award given by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). SDSU, recognized for its City Heights K-12 Credential Program, is one of five universities nationwide being honored by AASCU for leadership and innovation in teacher education.

The City Heights K-12 Credential Program, directed by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, connects SDSU student teachers for one year with students at Hoover High School, Monroe Clark Middle School, and at Rosa Parks Elementary School. The credential candidates in the program learn state-of-the-art applications of educational technology, how to develop and implement curricula for diverse learners in urban classrooms, how to ensure literacy development across different subject areas, and more. In turn, the students and schools of City Heights benefit from the presence of a highly motivated group of student teachers committed to providing the best tools to help them attain academic success.

"Because of the range of experiences they get, these credential candidates truly are the best novice teachers we can place in schools," said Nancy Farnan, SDSU professor and director of the School of Teacher Education. "They are working with linguistically and culturally diverse students across various grade levels, teaching all children to be successful and to try to achieve. They're not limited to just knowing what happens at the high school level. They can look at education through a broad lens, which I think is a special part of the program."

Since the program began in 1999, nearly 300 student teachers have received their credential. Many already have become exemplary instructional teachers and recognized leaders on their school sites, Farnan said, including one who was recently named Teacher of the Year at a Denver public school.

Christianna Antonello graduated from the City Heights K-12 Credential Program in spring 2003 after teaching biology to ninth- through 12th-graders at Hoover High School.

"Working in the City Heights area opened my eyes to what kids can accomplish," said Antonello, who earned a Single Subjects credential from SDSU. "I learned a lot from them and their experiences. Every student contributed differently which, in turn, helped me to become a better teacher."

Antonello, a native New Yorker, now teaches eighth-grade science at Bell Junior High School in Paradise Hills.

The Christa McAuliffe award is named after the teacher who died in the Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986. The award was first presented in the late 1980s, and its focus was changed by the AASCU Board of Directors in 2001 to emphasize honoring programs that could document the success of their graduates and their impact on the pupils they teach.

"Winning the Christa McAuliffe Award is especially important to SDSU and the College of Education because it gives national recognition to what we value - preparing high quality teachers, community involvement, and ensuring K-12 students' increasing achievement," Farnan said.

The other universities AASCU recognized are Bowling Green State University, Central Michigan University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the University of Toledo. AASCU will present the awards at its 2003 annual meeting scheduled for Nov. 23-25 in Carlsbad, Calif.

"Through this award, these nationally selected programs offer innovative leadership in the continuing redesign and improvement in teacher education," said George L. Mehaffy, AASCU's vice president of Academic Leadership and Change.

AASCU represents more than 430 public colleges, universities and systems of higher education throughout the United States and its territories.

CONTACT: Jennifer Zwiebel,SDSU Marketing & Communications (619) 594-4298, (619) 242-1365 pager,

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