As part of its ongoing campaign to battle the state's teacher shortage crisis, the university has recruited an "elite cohort of future bilingual teachers" who will be placed this fall in classrooms as paid paraprofessionals through the Teaching Fellows program, the first of its kind in the state.
The first 30 teaching fellows are area high school graduates recruited in the spring semester by Fresno State's School of Education and Human Development. They begin working in the fall 1999 semester toward their degrees and teacher certifications.
Teaching fellows will begin spending up to 15 hours a week at schools this fall when they start their academic careers. Their time in the classroom will continue throughout their four-year teacher certification program -- a contrast to the more limited exposure that traditionally occurs prior to student teaching.
The students' tuition is paid with fellowships from the federally funded Career Ladder Program, a collaborative teacher preparation effort combining the resources of Fresno State, the Fresno Regional Occupational Program, and the State Center Community College District.
The program is funded by a five-year $952,500 U.S. Department of Education grant designed for promising bilingual high school students who show a commitment to teach by their participation in teacher preparation programs in high school.
Language groups represented in Fresno State's first group of 30 students are Spanish, Hmong, Khmer, Hindi and Punjabi.
Anne Murphy, director of Fresno State's Career Ladder Program, said the program will produce 140 credentialed teachers over the next five years.
The university's first group of students has a composite G.P.A. of 3.7 and includes several valedictorians.
Teaching Fellows is modeled after a similar program with the same name in North Carolina.
Public Affairs Offices/Campus News