News Release| CSULA; Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency Program

Note to news directors and editors: To arrange interviews with CSULA Professors Diane Haager and A.Dee Williams regarding the L.A. Urban Teacher Residency Program, please contact the CSULA Public Affairs office at (323) 343-3050.  Also, you are invited to check back next summer when the five-year program begins in earnest and/or next fall when the first resident-teachers begin their assignments at middle and high schools.

$8.8 million for Cal State L.A. and partners to launch L.A. Urban Teacher Residency Program

Federal push to enhance teacher quality adapts med-school model

to train 250 new teachers and boost LAUSD student academic achievement

Los Angeles, CA – Adapting a medical-school model and propelled by a new five-year $8.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), California State University, Los Angeles will launch the L.A. Urban Teacher Residency Program to strengthen both teacher preparation and student academic achievement.

Through a 15-month graduate-level program, students seeking to become teachers will spend a full school year as resident-teachers in classrooms at middle and high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), working with outstanding mentor teachers. The residents’ program will also include advanced coursework, projects, and extensive support. While in the classroom, the resident-teachers will receive a $21,000 stipend.

The goal is to prepare individuals to enter high-need Los Angeles public schools ready to teach math, science and special education. Upon completion of the residency program, participants will be strongly encouraged to teach for at least three years in the LAUSD.

The residency program will align with California state standards for teacher certification and induction—and with the University’s requirements for a master’s degree in education. Thus, upon completion of the program, participants will earn both a teaching credential and a master’s degree.

Funded through the federal Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) initiative, the project is administered by Cal State L.A.’s Charter College of Education. Other partners in the L.A. Urban Teacher Residency Program include the College of Natural and Social Sciences at Cal State L.A.; LAUSD; the Center for Collaborative Education; the Mayor’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools; three community organizations—Families In Schools, Alliance for a Better Community, and Central American Resource Center; the Los Angeles Pilot Schools Network; United Teachers Los Angeles; and WestEd Research. 

The program includes rigorous candidate selection and a commitment to recruit from diverse populations. Participants will already have bachelor’s degrees in the disciplines they plan to teach. Beginning with a first-year cohort of 25 teacher-residents and growing to a fifth-year cohort of 75, the program will cumulatively enroll 250 as it seeks to expand and improve a permanent pipeline of innovative, effective new teachers for the LAUSD.

The program begins officially in June 2010 when its first students participate in an intensive summer session at Cal State L.A. before diving into their year-long residency in the classroom in fall 2010.

Diane Haager, professor of special education and counseling, is the principal investigator for the grant. A.Dee Williams, professor of curriculum and instructions, is its curriculum director. Other Cal state L.A. faculty will be involved in curriculum development, supervision in schools, and instruction of classes.

Program officials said the effort is directly influenced by the model of residencies in medical training. It is widely accepted, they said, that students–including future teachers—learn best when applying their learning in practical and tangible ways instead of merely hypothesizing about ways to apply it; and research shows that teacher quality is the key factor in improving student achievement.

According to Haager, “This brings the Charter College of Education into a significant partnership with schools and community agencies that will help us to prepare teachers who are truly ready to promote equity and social justice in urban schools.  Teacher candidates in this program will get full-time, hands-on classroom experience coupled with rigorous coursework. It will be a great opportunity for them to work full-time with mentor teachers in reform-minded, successful urban schools.”

Williams said, “This grant is an opportunity for the entire community of Los Angeles to examine, evaluate and eventually redefine quality teaching and quality teacher training.  We have a very strong group of partners that includes local educators and community groups. Together we will be able to provide schoolchildren in Los Angeles consistently high-quality teachers who will be prepared to learn, live within, and embrace the unique challenges of our local community.”

According to the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, “The Obama Administration is committed to giving teachers the support they need to succeed in the classroom. The Teacher Quality Partnership grants will improve student academic achievement by strengthening teacher preparation, training and effectiveness and help school districts attract potential educators from a wide-range of professional backgrounds into the teaching profession.”

Cal State L.A. was one of only five TQP grantees selected from a pool of 17 California applicants. Three of the four other successful proposals came from California State University campuses—Chico; Dominguez Hills; and a joint effort by Bakersfield, Monterey Bay and San Luis Obispo. Nationally, only 28 of 172 proposals were funded.

For the CSU press release on the USDOE grant, go to http://www.calstate.edu/PA/News/2009/teacher-quality.shtml.

For more on the CSU Teacher Education and Public School Program, go to http://www.calstate.edu/teachered/index.shtml.

For the U.S. Department of Education press release, go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/09/09302009.html.

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