Campus: CSU, Bakersfield -- November 18, 1999

BBEST Program Under Way at CSUB

A pilot program designed to produce credentialed teachers in four years is under way at California State University, Bakersfield.

Called the Blended Baccalaureate for Excellence in Studies and Teaching, or BBEST, the program already has 23 students, said Sheryl Santos, dean of CSUB's School of Education.

The program is a result of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing's (CCTC) challenge to graduate credentialed teachers in four years to meet the skyrocketing demand for teachers in California schools. The CSU, under the direction of Chancellor Charles Reed, is encouraging all CSU campuses to be proactive in teacher education reform.

The BBEST program is supported by a grant from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

"BBEST improves the quality of teacher preparation via blended instruction by faculty in the schools of Arts and Sciences and Education," Santos said. "It's designed for people who decide early to become teachers, and are able to commit to full-time enrollment during the day."

Traditionally in California, prospective teachers complete their academic work with either a degree in liberal studies or child development or other CCTC-approved major if they plan a career in kindergarten through eighth grade classrooms, or a degree in a traditional academic major such as English or math if they plan a career in secondary education. After graduation, they embark on a "fifth year" program, in which they take their credential courses and do their student teaching.

With the BBEST program, students will complete their academic and credential work concurrently.

Among advantages the program offers, Santos said, are:

  • A unified curriculum relevant to students' career goals.
  • Immediate introduction to the culture of professional education.
  • A four-year program of study.
  • Reduced time to a degree.

"We're proud and excited to be actively engaged in teacher education reform," Santos said. "The BBEST program is a work-in-progress, and we are developing appropriate evaluation tools to meet our own standards of quality as well as external accreditation standards to ensure ongoing program effectiveness for students."

She said students who are committed to the four-year program are guaranteed enrollment in all necessary courses, that courses will be offered during flexible time periods for all four years to allow students "to make long-range plans and maximize opportunities for multiple field experiences."

For more information about enrolling in CSUB's BBEST program, please call 661/664-3337, or 661/664-3401.

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